This post is part of a collaboration with leading UK cooking appliance brand Stoves.
Lemon and elderflower is such a classic combo that I’m sure even Margaret Powell wouldn’t begrudge me for a slight adaptation of her 100 year old recipe for Lemon Pudding.
With Stoves celebrating their centenary this year, they asked me to revisit a seminal cookbook from the era, The Downstairs Cookbook. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Margaret Powell, her food writing was ground-breaking in introducing the country to the ‘upstairs / downstairs’ culture in stately homes, her work peppered with amusing and insightful anecdotes into the divide between the domestic help and their hirers. Her dispatches from basement cooking for the elite provided the inspiration for Downton Abbey.
In this heat wave I am not fussing around with fancy pastries, but turning to simple summery puddings preferably doused in cold thick cream; and it seems Powell was a dab hand at those. This baked pudding takes minutes to prepare and pleasingly packed with lemony zing. The recipe calls for a thick slice of cake (store-bought is fine), but I turned to another domestic goddess for the base of mine.
I have tweaked the recipe a little to give it a sticky citrusy topping. As with the last of the elderflower blossoms are bursting with fragrance, it would be rude not to grab a handful on our daily designated walk and make this syrup to drizzle over the hot pudding . I would ideally have used Demerara sugar for added crunch, but that seems to rank among the likes of bread flour and yeast in these Corona times.
Refreshingly, Powell was not a slave to specifics as modern recipe writing is, hence I’m not entirely sure on the ideal-sized vessel for this pudding. Which is just as well, considering most of us tend to turn to whatever baking dish we have to hand. I should point out you’ll get different result depending on the surface area of your baking dish, so just keep an eye out as it cooks as you want it just set and not too coloured on top.
Serves about 4-5, with crème fraiche or ice cream on the side
I’ve converted this to grams but will leave the ounce measurements for the old schoolers.
4 oz / 115g cake crumbs (sponge or madeira)
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites
3 oz / 85g castor sugar
1 gill / 142ml whole milk
2 unwaxed lemons or oranges (I used lemons)
1 tbsp heavy cream
For the elderflower and lemon drizzle
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
Elderflower petals to garnish
Preheat oven to 180c. Cream the yolks of the eggs with the sugar, add the grated rind of the lemons or oranges, cake crumbs (I break them in not too finely so there’s a little texture still), milk and cream if using. In a separate bowl and with a clean whisk, whisk the whites to firm peaks, gently fold them into the other ingredients, pour into a buttered dish and bake at 180c or until the mixture is just set, which took about 20 minutes in my dish.
While the pudding is baking, add the lemon juice, sugar and cordial to a pan. Simmer until syrupy and sticky. Drizzle over the hot pudding and scatter with elderflower petals and extra lemon zest.
Serve hot from the oven.