A passion for puddings

    Spotlight 10/2016
    Leidenschaft für Pudding.
    © Wiktory/iStock.com

    When the dessert menuDessertkartedessert menu arrives at the end of the evening, you are faced with the most difficult choice of the meal. Should it be a seriously sweet piece of treacle tart (UK)Dessert aus Mehl, Brotkrumen und Siruptreacle tart or stickyklebrigsticky banoffee cakeBananen-Toffee-Kuchenbanoffee cake, or perhaps the crunchKnuspercrunch of an apple crumbleStreuselkuchencrumble, covered in creamy custardVanillesaucecustard? What about the cool perfection of a Viennetta parfait or the childhood classic and heavy comfort of a jam roly-polyStrudelroly-poly? It’s impossible to decide. And whichever one you order, you know you’ll be sorry that you didn’t order the others.

    What if you could have them all, though? That’s the idea behind pudding nights. In towns and cities across Britain, cafes and restaurants offer something special for the sweet-toothedgenäschig, vernaschtsweet-toothed guest, with regular and occasional dessert-focused events rewriting the traditional menu and putting the pudding in the spotlight.

    The mother of them all is the Pudding Club, established more than 30 years ago by Three Ways House, a comfortable hotel in the quiet village of Mickleton in the beautiful Cotswolds, just a few miles down the road from Stratford-upon-­Avon.­ Every Friday evening, the Pudding Club welcomes guests from all over the world to try seven different puddings in a belt-burstinggürtelsprengendbelt-bursting event, with the promise that they can go back to the pudding table for as many extra helpinghier: Portionhelpings as they can manage. Now, there’s a challenge! These evenings are crowded and noisy, as diners applaud their favourites and compete with each other for the honour of consuming the most portions of syrup sponge (UK)Biskuitsponge, dark choco­late mousse or limeLimonelime-and-lemon charlotteFruchtpuddingcharlotte — all, according to the menu, “served with lashingshier: großzügige Portionlashings of custard”.

    The Pudding Club: Inspiration for pudding events

    Three Ways House to trademark sth.etw. markenrechtlich schützen lassentrademarked the Pudding Club name in 1997, but, inspired by the club’s success, other hotels, restaurants and cafes have created their own pudding nights and pudding events.

    In Kent’s historical city of Canterbury, just a short walk from the beautiful cathedral, John Cutmore and his partner, Caroline Kerwick, hold Pudding Society meetings all year round at the award-­winning Tiny Tim’s Tearoom. Pudding Society events follow the formula established by the Pudding Club, with lots of ceremony, including a pudding parade of the seven puddings on that evening’s menu and a crowning of the “King of all Puddings” once all the guests have eaten up.

    Tiny Tim’s Pudding Society also has its own contemporary additions to the traditional English dessert menu, created in celebration of popular public events. Their Prince George Pudding, to celebrate the birth of the new royal prince in 2013, is “a white chocolate and macadamia nut delighthier: Köstlichkeitdelight” and is served alongside its sister dish, a meringue-topped charlotte named Princess Charlotte Pudding.


    It does get quite wild at times. People can bring their own wine, which helps the evening to flow very nicely


    In 2010, Liz King, owner of Rosie’s Tea Room, a little cafe in a quiet street in Abingdon-on-Thames, just south of Oxford, spent a fun-filled evening of dessert delight at the Pudding Club. On her return to Abingdon, she launched Rosie’s Pudding Nights, reducing the number of puddings to six and adding a selection of cheeses. It didn’t take off immediately, but after some customer feedback, Liz found the winning pudding formula for Abingdon — a seasonal savouryherzhaft, pikantsavoury starter, with four puddings to follow. In the summer months, Liz starts the evening with a refreshing salad. In September, she might serve a warming stewEintopfstew, and in the winter months, a dish such as sausage and mash (UK ifml.)Kartoffelbreimash with onion gravySoßegravy. Many puddings are year-round favourites, such as chocolate and Cointreau mousse, apple, pearBirnen-pear and brown-sugar crumble as well as Liz’s favourite, white chocolate panna cotta. But there are seasonal specials as well, particularly at Christmas time, when, in addition to the ever popular Christmas pudding, her Christmas champagne sorbet is also a hit with diners.

    Liz sees her pudding nights as more relaxed than those of the original Pudding Club in Mickleton and also more spontaneous. “I decide the menu the day before. Once I’ve checked the bookings for any allergies or gluten intolerance, I get out my recipes and see what takes my fancy. It’s all freshly made here in the cafe.”

    She says that Rosie’s Pudding Night diners are mostly groups of women out to celebrate. “It does get quite wild at times. They can bring their own wine, which helps the evening to flow very nicely.” Couples and birthday parties are also welcome, and recently, a gentleman came along with friends and family to celebrate his 90th birthday. “He ate every pudding and had a wonderful time.”

    London: Where every night is pudding night

    There are many more pudding events up and down the country, but if you are in the capital, almost every night can be pudding night. London now has lots of locations where late-night sweet treathier: Gaumenfreudetreats are the star attraction, from the Basement Sate cocktail and dessert bar in Soho to The Café in the Hotel Café Royal in Regent Street.

    In the evening, The Café becomes “home to London’s first dessert restaurant”. With so many puddings on offer in so many places, we all have to roll up our sleeveÄrmelsleeves and do our bit to help out. How many puddings will you eat?

    If you’d like to try a pudding, the crumble recipe below is simple and can be made with many types of fruit.


    Recipe: Apple and raspberry crumble


    For the crumble:
    120 g plain floureinfaches Mehlplain flour
    60 g caster sugarfeiner Streuzuckercaster sugar
    60 g cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces

    For the fruity filling:
    300 g apples (Cox or Braeburn)
    100 g blackberries
    30 g unsalted butter
    30 g brown sugar
    A pinchPrisepinch of cinnamonZimtcinnamon
    A pinch of vanilla
    Ice cream or double cream, to serve

    Preheat your oven to 190 °C/170 °C fanhier: Umluftfan/gas 5. Put the sugar and flour into a large bowl. Add the butter. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until you have something that looks like large breadcrumbBrotkrumebreadcrumbs. Spread these loosely on a baking sheetBackblechbaking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until light brown. For the filling, to peelschälenpeel, to coreentkernencore and cut the apples into small pieces. Melt the butter and sugar in a pot over a medium heat. Cook until the mixture turns to a light caramel (3–4 minutes). Add the apples and cook for another three minutes. Finally, mix in the cinnamon, blackberryBrombeereblackberries and vanilla, and cook for a further three minutes. Put the warm fruit mix into an ovenproof dishAuflaufformovenproof dish, add the crumble mix on top and reheat in the oven for five to ten minutes. Serve with ice cream or double cream.

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