Kentish cherry batter pudding - and one more thing, I just launched my beer blog 'The Queen Beer'!

Batter puddings have been around for centuries. Originally they were named 'dripping puddings' because they were placed in trays underneath large spit-roasts to catch the dripping of the meat. In the 1747 book The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse renamed the dripping pudding to the now more generally known Yorkshire pudding.
'Yorkies' were provided to stretch the meat a little longer, soaked in gravy they are very child's favourite and traditionally served as a filling dish before the main meat dish came to the table rather than accompanying it.

But batter puddings haven't always been the perfect partner in crime to a good sunday roast, they have also been savored as a sweet treats as well. Mostly the rich puddings were just drizzled with a dusting of fine sugar but in the summer season and early autumn when there was a glut of fruit to use up, a sauce of cherries or plums would have been made to accompany the batter pudding.

Although there is no proof of age for the recipe of the Kentish cherry batter pudding, before the second world war there were about 40 000 acres of cherry orchards in Britain and most of them were situated in Kent. This does tell us that there were a lot of cherries about and not all of those cherries would have been exported to other parts of the country. Sadly only 90 percent of these orchards remain today but luckily the last few years Kentish cherries have seen a revival with new orchards being planted.
Cherry trees are kept much shorter now, making it easier to harvest. In the old days, mostly women would pick the cherries standing on high ladders with wicker baskets tied to their waists.

I reaslise this recipe comes at the very end of the cherry season, but you can also use the cherry brandy you have in your cupboard if you made some last year. Or like me if you made some every year for the past 5 years. I age them in years, only just opened up my 10 year old, after which I didn't make any for 5 years. Some people who I like very much have received a tiny jar of those cherries so if you have, open the jar wisely.

This post also comes at the very end of the season because I have been so very busy, I already mentioned in my last my last post I'm writing a book but I'm also taking on an extra course in culinary school. This beer sommelier course also comes with a brand new blog of mine. So a new announcement is in order: I've started a beer blog! Here it is The Queen Beer - Land of Hops and Glory has launched yesterday and I'm very excited to share all my beer tasting adventures with you. It's in a way honoring my Belgian roots, but also because I rather have a decent craft beer with my food these days. Really, I am so over wine...
In a few months I will be able to offer you a beer pairing with my dishes! What is also new is the fact that on my beer blog I will be using iPhone only pictures most of the time. You can't be playing with a big camera while tasting a beer, it has to be a quick relaxed shot.

But on to the Kentish cherry batter pudding

What do you need

For the batter - makes 12 muffing size puddings
  • 120 g plain or white spelt flour
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 240 ml full-fat milk
  • a pinch of sea salt 
  • rapeseed, sunflower or lard for baking

For the cherry sauce
  • 300g cherries
  • 150 ml unsweetened apple juice or water
  • 40 g raw cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch if you wish to thicken the sauce

  • Preheat your oven to 200° C 
  • To make the batter, sift the flour - very important here - and add the eggs, add the milk slowly while whisking the batter to create a mixture resembling a slightly thicker pancake batter.
  • To make the cherry sauce, remove the stones from the cherries by halving them or use a fancy tool to get the stone out. Place in a small pan and bring to a simmer with the water or apple juice. 
  • Add the sugar and let it dissolve, simmer until you get a dark colored sauce.  I like not to cook it too long so the cherries aren't reduced to jam.
  • If you like a thicker sauce add the cornstarch to packet instructions and when done put aside
  • Place a generously greased muffin tin in the preheated oven.
  • When the oil is hot, be quick as it should stay hot. Get the tin out of the oven safely, don't spill the hot grease! 
  • Scoop batter into each muffing shape and then add a cherry or two from your braised cherries, or from your cherry brandy.
  • Place into the oven and don't touch the oven door until the batter puddings have risen and are golden brown, this should be about 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve with some of the braised cherries, a spoonful of clotted cream or strained yoghurt (Greek style)

Tip: Just use leftover Yorkshire puds if you have them, and also these puds freeze well!

I'll share with you which beer I would have with this pudding, to stay in the cherry mood: a traditional Belgian sour cherry beer, not a sweet one like the more commercial brands. A sour one which has a hint of the kernels and vanilla like a Liefmans Kriek, or a provision beer like a Liefmans Goudenband. For more international beers I think a sweet ans mooth porter would do the trick. Or, if you have cherry brandy, a little glass of cherry brandy of course!


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