quince and wet walnut steamed pudding. (serves 6-8)
This recipe came about as a result of sitting in my kitchen shelling wet walnuts for last years Christmas cake; at the time I was surrounded by the smell of kilos of quinces waiting to be processed, the taste of the milky sweet walnuts (which frequently ended up feeding me rather than the bowl) mixed with the fragrance of quinces was enough to inspire anyone to cook them together into a sweet, festive pudding - this is mine; a steamed pudding combining the deep flavours of quince with walnuts, rich duck eggs, nutmeg and rum. When it's served with thick cream and quince and vanilla syrup, the pudding has a flavour that's not a million miles away from egg nog - it's a delicious way to celebrate those very special late autumn fruits and nuts, or even as an alternative to the traditional Christmas pudding.
200g fresh breadcrumbs
200g suet (vegetarian works fine in this recipe)
150g granulated sugar
45g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 grated nutmeg
3 duck eggs (or 4 hens eggs)
60ml whole milk
60ml rum or damson vodka
150g shelled wet (fresh) walnuts
200g peeled quinces chopped into small pieces ( taking care to leave out the gritty central area) - keep the skins and gritty centers to one side.
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod.
In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, suet, flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, stir in the wet walnuts and quince
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk and rum (or damson vodka) together and slowly add this mixture to the dry ingredients and work the ingredients together until they form a thick consistency (don't over work the mixture though).
Add the mixture to a large, well greased pudding basin, cover with clingfilm, a layer of parchment and kitchen foil and tightly tie the foil and parchment around the rim of the basin with butchers string. Place the basin in to a prepared steaming pan (you can use a normal saucepan with a tightly fitting lid and an upturned small plate inside to keep the basin off the bottom of the saucepan - add enough water to not go more than 1/2 way up the side of the pudding basin). Steam the pudding on a low heat for 4 hours.
If not serving straight away, pour 20ml more rum or damson vodka over the pudding and keep it in its cooking basin, in the fridge. To reheat, steam it again or 1 hour.
Whilst the pudding is steaming, place the quince remnants into another pan, cover them with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the juices through a jelly bag (or fine sieve if you don't have one). Measure the juices, return them to the pan, and bring back to the boil. Then to every 100ml of juice, add 60g sugar. Add the vanilla seeds to the syrup and cook on a medium heat until the syrup is reduced by about 1/3. Pour the syrup into a jar to serve with the pudding.