Home again, home again ...yes the man of the house finally made it home and seeing as he'd been eating in fancy restaurants for the past week (2 actually, but who's counting), I thought I'd welcome him with something simple but delicious for dinner.
We've had this Cheesy Cauliflower Soup before so I'll point you in that direction for the recipe but before you go, here's the goods. Surprise, surprise there's not a spec of meat in it and although it might benefit from a crispy bacon garnish, it really doesn't need a thing. Loaded with onion, celery, carrots and cauliflower cooked in chicken stock them made creamy with milk and cheese, it's a spicy cheesy blend of stick to your ribs warm comfort. Garnished with a touch of Matouk's hot sauce, totally optional of course, it's great grub for a cold winter's evening.
Of course a dinner consisting of a simple bowl of soup and crackers deserves a sweet finish, so I whipped up a steamed pudding that's a perfect showcase for maple syrup and crisp apples. The British wrote the book on steamed puddings and to be honest I think they're responsible for cooking up some of the most amazing simple old fashioned delicious desserts. We have them to thank for all kinds of glorious things like Summer Pudding, Trifles and Sticky Toffee Pudding and we can thank them for the inspiration for this lovely concoction.
Simply chopped apples cooked briefly in butter and maple syrup and topped with a cake like pudding, it steams in a pudding mold then gets flipped out and looks like this. Perfect served with a thin custard sauce (creme Anglaise), we had the warm cakey goodness with plain old vanilla ice cream because I was too lazy to make the custard.
I have to admit that I had some fun converting the measurements from grams, so it may require a little more tweaking to make it perfect but it's still a lovely dessert. Definitely not overpoweringly sweet, the next time I give it a go I'll use a sweeter apple instead of my favorite Granny Smith's and caramelize the apples more before they hit the pudding mold. Also the original recipe from bbcgoodfood.com calls for golden syrup rather than the maple I substituted and I have a feeling the end result would be quite different but no more delicious I'm sure. I mean you really can't beat the flavor of maple never mind the bourbon I added to the mix ...don't worry Big Guy - I used the cheaper stuff and saved the Knob Creek for sippin'. By the way you could substitute pears for the apples if you wish.
Steamed Apple and Maple Pudding (Inspired by bbcgoodfood.com)
4 tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup brown sugar (do not pack)
1/4 cup bourbon, rum or milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup self-rising flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Spray a pudding mold with cooking spray, coat with flour shaking off excess, and then set aside.
Peel and core apples and cut into small quarter inch cubes. Heat butter and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Add apples and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly browned. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, bourbon, and maple syrup and beat well to combine. Add flour and salt and mix until combined. Place apples on the bottom of the prepared pudding mold and add batter over top, smoothing top to even out. Spray lid of pudding mold with cooking spray, then cover and lock clips of mold. Place into a steamer or large pot with water half way up sides of pudding. Bring water to a simmer, cover pot and cook for 1-1/2 hours or until skewer inserted into pudding comes out clean. Remove from pot and cool briefly, then carefully flip onto serving plate. Scoop any apple that remains in pudding mold into center of pudding. Serve with thin custard or ice cream. Serves 4 to 6.