Apple flapjack

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Lois’ apple flapjack is like a bowl of stewed apples topped with Anzac biscuit topping. A dream pudding in my book (a dream breakfast, too). Next time I make this I’m going to up the Anzac factor by adding long thread coconut and an extra tablespoon of golden syrup (and not add any sugar to the apples).

Apple flapjack (Lois Daish, Listener, June 4 2005)

Topping:

80g butter (if using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients)

1 heaped tablespoon golden syrup

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup standard flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

Filling:

5 large cooking apples

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 170°C. Melt the butter and golden syrup in a medium-sized pan. Once melted, add the dry ingredients and stir to mix. Peel, core and slice the apples. Place into a large baking dish. Sprinkle with water and sugar. Spoon the topping over the apples and bake for about an hour until the apples are tender and the topping is crisp. It goes without saying that this is heavenly with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt.

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Baked rice pudding

Detail of illustration by Geoffery Notman, Dinner at Home, 1993, p. 89.

Detail of illustration by Geoffery Notman, Dinner at Home, 1993, p. 89.

There’s an art to making a pudding out of a few simple ingredients. Baked rice pudding is what Lois Daish categorises as a ‘milk pudding’; an endearing term with a cosy nursery supper time feel to it. Other milk puddings include bread and butter pudding, lemon delicious, and rhubarb fool. These old-fashioned style puddings are exactly what I feel like eating in the depths of winter.

The main (but unlisted) ingredient for Lois’ baked rice pudding is time. Preparation takes minutes; the baking takes hours. However these are hours you can spend doing something else, warm in the knowledge that rice pudding is imminent.

Baked rice pudding (Lois Daish, Listener, August 13 2005)

3 cups milk (not trim milk)

3 tablespoons calrose or arborio rice

3 tablespoons caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or half a vanilla pod

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 150°C (not fan bake). Put all ingredients into a deep baking dish with a capacity of one litre and give it a stir. Place in the oven and bake for 2 1/2 hours, stirring the pudding three times during the first hour and then leaving it undisturbed for the remainder of the cooking time. The pudding will develop a golden skin on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes before serving. Serves 2-3 generously and any cold leftovers are a thing of joy the next day.

Baked caramel custard

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‘I don’t think of dessert as an occasional reward for good behaviour. To me, it is an integral part of the meal…’

Lois Daish, Cuisine 134, May 2009, p. 94

What a refreshing change it is to hear someone talking about dessert without any connotation of guilt or decadence. Obviously moderation is always key and Lois goes on to say that dessert at her house is often just seasonal fruit, but sometimes it’s what she describes as a ‘milk pudding’; delights such as rice pudding, lemon delicious, bread and butter pudding or baked caramel custard. Lois and I are on the same page here. Have some dessert and really enjoy it.

The instructions below might seem a bit long but this isn’t a difficult recipe. If you’ve melted sugar for Lois’ Dutch caramel cookies before then you’re all set to whip up a baked caramel custard for pudding tonight.

Baked caramel custard (Lois Daish, Cuisine 134, p. 94)

For the caramel:

1/2 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 150°C (don’t use fan bake). You’ll need a small, deep baking dish for the custard and another larger baking dish that is a suitable size to rest the custard dish inside in a pond of hot water while it bakes.

Put the caster sugar into a medium-sized heavy saucepan (large enough to warm the milk in later on) and place over a low-medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, tilt the pan around gently to swirl the sugar so that it melts evenly. Once all of the sugar has melted and deepened to a rich golden syrup pour it into the baking dish, tilting the dish so that is spreads over most of the bottom of the dish. The caramel will harden as it cools. You don’t need to scrape out every last bit of caramel from the pan as you’ll use this pan to warm the milk.

For the custard:

2 1/2 cups (625ml) standard milk

2 free-range eggs

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla paste)

Place the milk in the caramel saucepan. Put the remaining ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together just enough to combine thoroughly. Heat the milk until very hot but not boiling; it’s at about the right temperature once steam is coming off the top and if you dunk your finger into the milk you don’t want to leave it in there!

Pour the hot milk in a steady stream into the egg mixture, whisking as you go. Pour this mixture through a sieve into the baking dish with the caramel in the bottom. Place in the larger baking dish and surround the dish of custard with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the caramel dish. I find the easiest way to do this is to put the custard dish inside the larger dish and put these in the oven. I pull out the oven rack slightly and then pour hot water from a recently boiled kettle into the larger baking dish.

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour until a sharp knife cut into the middle of the custard comes away clean, showing that the custard is set all the way through. Remove from the oven and cool until lukewarm before serving, or serve the custard cold and chilled; I like it best served cold. 

Sticky date & walnut pudding

sticky date and walnut pudding

My Tuesday afternoon perked up considerably when I realised that if I stopped and bought walnuts on my way home from work, I could make Lois’ sticky date and walnut pudding for dessert. Dates and walnuts are such a great match; as a snack, on a cheeseboard, in a date loaf, but best of all in this perfect winter pudding. Lois’ recipe follows the ‘self-saucing’ pudding formula where you sprinkle sugar on top of the batter and pour boiling water on top. This pudding has a tendency to soak up most of the sauce as it cools, so it’s a good idea to make a little extra to pour over.

Sticky date & walnut pudding (Lois Daish, Listener, May 24, 1997)

3/4 cup dried dates, cut into thirds (this helps to ensure that you’ll discover any bits of the stone that may be left inside the date)

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup boiling water

1 free-range egg

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup fresh walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C and butter a small deep baking dish (4 cup capacity). Put the dates, first measurement of boiling water and butter into a small bowl; cover and set aside for five minutes. Add the egg to the dates and whisk with a fork. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, first measurement of brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Pour the date mixture and chopped walnuts into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared serving dish and sprinkle with the last measurement of brown sugar and then pour over the boiling water. Bake for about 30 minutes until it is just firm; don’t overcook it or all of the sauce will evaporate.

Extra caramel sauce

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

Put the three ingredients in a small pot and bring to the boil and simmer until it forms a smooth sauce. Spoon most this sauce over the hot pudding once you have removed it from the oven, leaving a little to drizzle over each serving.