Nottinghamshire traditionally had a reputation for excellent batter puddings. Welbeck Pudding is no exception but it is unusual as it features a flour-free batter (which is a bit like a souffle or meringue topping) with the Nottinghamshire Bramley Apple as its base. What’s not to like? Well, actually, I have slightly altered the original recipe I found as it didn’t work for me with so little milk.
Welbeck itself (see my post on the Harley Cafe and Welbeck Estate) is in North Nottinghamshire and from the 18th Century formed part of the “Dukeries”, the great estates and Royal hunting grounds around Sherwood Forest owned by 5 Dukes. Welbeck Abbey, home to the Dukes of Portland, is a vast and architecturally complex mansion, with a network of mysterious underground tunnels. It stands on the site of the original Abbey which is thought to date back to 1153. I cannot find any reference to why Welbeck Pudding is named after the House, perhaps one of the cooks developed it as someone in the family had a wheat intolerance (as it contains no flour) Who knows? Indeed if anyone does know, perhaps you could drop me a line, as I would love to find out the history of this pudding.
This recipe appears on-line if you dig around a bit and in Our Local Food by Angela Greary and Flavours of Nottinghamshire by Francis Frith, but please find my amendments below as I couldn’t get their published version to work properly.
2-3 Tablespoons apricot jam (I used homemade gooseberry because I had it – see my previous post – and it worked brilliantly as the batter is quite sweet and the sharpness really complimented it). 1 and a half pounds Bramley apples – peeled (I didn’t and you do need to), cored and sliced,
5fl oz milk (see in method, I used at least twice as much as this, maybe more). 3/4 oz cornflour or arrowoot (I used cornflour), 1 Large Egg, 1 oz Castor Sugar
Layer the jam and apples in a one and a half pint buttered pie dish. You need to the apple to be sliced quite thinly as the batter cooks pretty fast – I used my super-dooper new Oxo slicer/grater (I am not sponsored to say this!) which was perfect.
Blend the milk with the cornflour or arrow-root and bring to the boil (I used cornflour and it thickened very very quickly, it was also way too thick, so I added at least as much milk again to get the right paste consistency). Allow to cool slightly (I added more cold milk here and stirred vigorously). Separate the egg and add the yolk to the mixture, stirring thoroughly.
Beat the egg white until stiff, blend in the sugar, and fold into the thickened milk mixture. Pour this mixture over the apples and bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for about 30 minutes (It took mine 45 minutes) until the apples are soft and the topping set and a pale golden brown. Serve warm.