It's August, and that means that it's time for three things: festivals, weddings and dancing. In this season of making hay in whatever patches of sunshine we can muster, there is one must-have accessory that will see us glide joyfully from occasion to occasion.
CIDER. In all guises, rough and ready, sparkling and sophisticated, fruity, dry, home-made with bits of twig and dead mice floating in it... You name it, it's cider season. So what better than to have a cake to match? I'm spoilt; living in Bristol, we have a whole shop just dedicated to the stuff. I wanted a medium-sweet cider so I went for Oliver's 'Making Hay', but a drive into your local countryside should yield a couple of farm shops selling off drums of boozy apple goodness.
What's more, this pudding is so easy, you can make it
Summer Cider Apple PuddingYou will need:
For the cider apples:
- 1 large apple, peeled and sliced
- 50ml good-quality still cider
- 125g self-raising flour
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 50g roughly chopped nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
- 100g butter
- 50ml cider
- 1 large free-range egg, beaten
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large apple, peeled and chopped into chunks
The cider apples:
- Place the sliced apples in a shallow saucepan with just enough cider to cover them.
- Poach over a low heat for 10 minutes, until the cider has reduced away and the apples are soft, but still retain their shape.
- Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 20cm cake tin (springform or silicon).
- Place the flour, sugar and nuts in a bowl and stir together.
- Soften the butter until almost melted and tip into the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the cider, egg and cinnamon.
- Pour into the rest of the ingredients, along with the apple chunks, and stir until evenly distributed.
- Spoon half of the batter into the tin and smooth over.
- Arrange the cider apples into a layer over the top of the batter, spreading out but stopping 1 inch short of the edge.
- Top with the remaining batter, smoothing out the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and a skewer inserted into the batter comes out clean.
- Cool for a minute or two in the tin, before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Poke some holes in the top of the cake and spoon over a few tablespoons of cider to soak in... before drinking the rest.
- Eat warm with clotted cream or custard or BOTH.