It’s unclear quite what the biblical reference to Eve in the eponymous pudding is supposed to convey: perhaps it was simply a novel way of naming yet another pudding that contained apples, and carrying out any kind of undergraduate Paradise Lost-like analysis on it is pointless and expecting rather too much from a simple apple cake. But I like to imagine that, like the original apple and its associated sin, the apples in this pudding make it irresistible to any who encounter it.
Originally, the pudding was a mixture of grated suet and breadcrumbs, with the apples stirred through it and boiled for three hours, like a Christmas pudding, before being served. As much as I love a boiled suet pudding, the modern version of Eve’s pudding is significantly lighter than its ancestor, and it doesn’t cause you to steam up your kitchen windows for an entire afternoon. Now, the chopped apples form a distinct bottom layer, which soften and bake as the top layer, a Victoria sponge-esque batter, puffs and colours until it is cakey and golden.
The combination of cooking and eating apples ensures that some of the fruit will break down, while some will retain its bite, and also balances the sourness of the cooking apples with the sweetness of the eating apples. I love the addition of a small amount of nutmeg to complement the apples: such spice and fruit are made for each other, and the light brown sugar in the sponge gives complex, caramel notes to the simple sponge.
Makes: Pudding for 4
Takes: 10 minutes
Bakes: 30 minutes
2 cooking apples
2 eating apples
100g butter, softened
100 light brown sugar
150g self raising flour
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whole milk
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Peel and core the apples and slice them into thumbsize chunks. Place them in a snug, single layer across the base of an oven-safe baking dish.
2. Cream the butter and the sugar together until fluffy and noticeably paler in colour. Add the eggs one by one and mix well into the batter.
3. Fold the self-raising flour, nutmeg and salt into the batter until combined, then loosen with the milk. Spoon the batter onto the apples, smoothing it into a roughly even layer – don’t worry if apples poke through, the batter will rise above them.
4. Bake for 30 minutes until the sponge is puffed and golden. Leave to cool for ten minutes before serving with cream or custard.