Pam Brunning is the editor ofFood & Wine, the Society magazine. When I looked at the Contents page, March 2010, I thought that Rheum Rhababarum might have something to do with Rum Baba. Instead, there was a most unusual article on forced rhubarb. The pudding included, at first glance of the photo, looked usual enough, but once out of the oven, well, a different story! This is another "My Story".
Before that, why not read Pam's article in the magazine? Click the link and go to page 6.
Today is 20 March 2010, the day before one of the Herefordshire Branch events takes place. The rest of the committee will be there and they will take home a sample of the pudding for planning purposes. We had decided the menu weeks before Pam's Pud came onto the horizon.
The recipe was studied and the ingredients bought. I muttered while shopping "Eve's Pudding is something I remember from school meals days and subsequently. Let's see how similar the two puds are."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/evespudding_83911.shtml reveals that they are miles apart. All the other sources yield similar results. I learnt that they comprise a conventional egg-based Victoria sponge cooked over apples. Nowhere could I find any other pudding with Pam's egg-less "batter" with its cornflour topping. Why is it different?
The proof of the pudding .....
The topping produces a unique crust empowered with rhubarb-subtlety. The water added in profusion yields the rhubarb flavoured jelly in the bottom of the dish. The sponge sandwiched between crust and jelly is the most moist that can be imagined. A heavenly trio, to be sure! Pam's contribution to gastronomy must be recognised. For much less, women have been named and damed.
The committee received the pudding in microwavable containers the next day - 21 March.
A new today
The rest of what you read was typed on 26th March.
Making the pudding
The reader is told that my wife has been disabled for ten years and I do all the cooking. Caveat emptor. What's the Latin for consumer?
There was no forced rhubarb to be bought but the normal variety turned up locally.
Prepare the dishes and spread the rhubarb
Decide how much to make - multiply by three, I thought. After inspecting old bowls normallly used for making concrete, a large saucepan was chosen. The mix went into the white dish in order to experiment. You'll see it in a minute.
Yes, I make concrete by hand, sometimes. After the ingredients were all combined, let's put it all on the rhubarb and think about the topping.
A good result. There will be evaluation later.
The recipe was multiplied by six for the larger green dish.
On with the cornflour, sugar and water.
Into the oven.
You can just see the baking dish under the sponge in case of spillage.
Here it is. My finest hour!
The tasting session has been described above - The proof of the pudding.
Let's look at the white dish.
The pud sank. Look at the dark parts at the far end. It sank by an inch and a bit. I need to see my shrink.
It was the first to be cooked and, despite the glass door, I opened it. Another look at the internet. "Won't do that the second time!" I mentally exclaimed.
The green dish was looked after really well but the pud sank and the door wasn't opened.
It is not so obvious, but it sank as much as the white dish mix. Three quarters the way through cooking, it was well above the edges of the green dish. Then - flop!
Not to worry - what's it like?
The pictures don't do it justice! Masses of flavour but too much flash.
Let's ask Pam for comment about the rise and fall aspects of this scrumptious pudding.
In true Pam style, back came an email within ten minutes.
I found the recipe on some obscure food blog site a long time ago. I did adapt it a bit - as you do -it is great isn't it?
My comment on the rising is that - 'I thought the amount of rise achieved was about on a par with the amount of baking powder used and considering there are no eggs in it. The cake part was light enough for the type of pudding and I wouldn't have expected a lighter consistency considering the amount of water poured on top of it. I don't think it sinks much during or after cooking - I think the 'high tide' mark you have around your dish is where the syrupy sauce rises to as it bubbles and nothing to do with the actual rise of the pudding. As you see mine was in a shallower dish and it did bubble right over.'
Hope that helps.
Best wishes Pam
PS One correction needed to the magazine recipe - typo - cornflour not cornflower!