September’s here and for most of us, with the absence of an Indian summer, it’s that time of year when we start thinking about the best ways to get through the autumnal and winter nights ahead. One way to look at the end of summer more optimistically is to think about all those lovely comforting desserts and puddings that you’ll be able to indulge in.
Somehow it’s more fitting to round dinner off with a pudding and some custard once we’re into the Autumn, and as the seasons change, we don’t feel so guilty about enjoying our comfort foods.
Irish Porter Cake
Although cake’s not strictly a dessert, it’s a good option if you like to do bake once a week and then be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour for a few days, rather than seeing it all disappear in one go. A traditional Irish choice would be Porter Cake, a moist fruit cake that’s made with a porter or dark stout such as Guinness or Murphy’s.
Porter cake isn’t a cake that requires high levels of baking skills either; just mix the ingredients together and pop it in the oven. While some might say you can only have Porter cake on St Patrick’s Day, for others, it’s a year-round treat that goes nicely with a cup of tea at any time of the day. Try out this Porter Cake recipe and if you have the willpower, cook it a day ahead and let the flavours develop overnight while it sits in its tin.
Fruit pies and crumbles
September’s a great time for pies, pastries and crumbles. If you’ve been inundated with your neighbours’ and friends’ donations of apples, blackberries and plums, which often happens at this time of year, there are infinite recipes that you can find to whip up some delicious puds.
However, you don’t have to be led by seasonal fruits – try this Deliveroo Foodscene Blog recipe for delectable individual portions of raspberry bakewell tart. They don’t take long to make and would be a great thing to serve when you’ve got guests over for dinner.
If you don’t feel confident about your skills in turning out perfect pastry, an easier option might be a crumble topping on stewed fruit. The classic crumble recipe calls for half the amount of fat to flour, sweetened with a couple of ounces of sugar. Try this oaty apple crumble we found on Donal Skehan which adds a healthy helping of oats to the crumble mix. While custard’s the classic accompaniment here, it goes just as nicely with ice-cream or a dollop of creme fraiche.
Soda bread pudding
Every nation seems to have its own version of bread and butter pudding – the classic ‘use-up’ pudding recipe. One popular Irish version from Odlums.ie uses soda bread, but you could make it just as easily with fruit loaf, left-over baguette, or just plain and simple sliced bread. While you can use fresh bread, it’s best to make this pudding with bread that’s gone stale, as it soaks up the egg and milk mix more readily. Add some cinnamon, mixed spice or ginger to give your bread pudding a bit of extra flavour.
While a bowl of pudding may not exactly make up for summer being over, it certainly sweetens the deal.