Sunday, March 30, 2008

Not Pudding

WhooHAH! Do you see that? Do you? That little green thingie sticking up behind the blossom is my very first baby Lemon Drop chili pepper. From the very first blossom to open. I don't know whether this proves I'm doing a good job with my trusty Q-Tip pollinator or that the plant is perfectly capable of producing its bounty in spite of my efforts.

There are several other peppers in the act of becoming but almost all of them are mere nubbins as yet. Pepperlettes if you will. This one stretches out a whole inch-and-a-half and the pepper closest to it in size is a one-incher. I don't know how long it will be before it ripens to yellow but I'm really curious. From what I've been reading about this particular variety, it's supposed to actually have a citrus-like scent and flavor -- behind the fairly righteous thermal attribute, of course.

If anyone is interested, the Lemon Drop (sometimes called Hot Lemon) chili pepper comes from the Aji variety, of which there are many interesting forms. This particular type originated in Central and South America.

Speaking of lemony things, what do you know about the Sussex pudding? What you see above is the result of following what appears to be a most unconventional version of an old Brit classic. I whupped it up mainly because it seemed the ideal way to use up what was left of the lemon curd I made last month. (See My Lemon Jones.) It wasn't until after I did this microwave version that I browsed assorted recipes for the old-fashioned way of doing it -- the one that requires steaming the pudding for 90 minutes or more.

Well, guess what -- none of those recipes even remotely resemble this one. Just to give you an idea, look at the Wickipedia information and photos. Hooboy. Whole different animal, don't you think? It doesn't seem to matter whether one calls it Sussex Pudding or Sussex Pond Pudding, every single recipe seems to call for the crust around a whole lemon, nested in sugar and butter and steamed for hours. And I'm sure it's just great done that way but, to tell you the truth, it looks way too rich for my taste. I think I'll stick with my version, even if I can't bring myself to call it Sussex Pudding. How about if we call it ...


Butter a 2-pint (1 liter) microwave safe baking dish. Cover bottom with thin layer of lemon curd or orange marmalade (at least 2 heaping tablespoons). In separate bowl, mix 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened, and 1/2 cup sugar. (I semi-melted the butter in the microwave, then gave it a good whisking with the sugar.) Add 2 eggs and 1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon juice and whisk well. Add 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk until batter is smooth. Spread evenly over lemon curd. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until knife in center comes out clean. Please note, the timing depends on the power of your microwave. I had to nuke it for 8 minutes before it was done in mine. Your mileage may vary.

You can turn out the finished cake -- it is a cake in this incarnation -- onto a serving dish, with the curd on top. I found it simpler to leave it in the baking dish and taking out just a single serving. As you can see in the photo, the topping came with it without any fuss at all. I haven't had any of it cold as yet but I can certainly vouch for the fact that it's wicked good while still hot.

You know, I think this would be good with just about any fruity preserve-type topping. Raspberry. Apricot. Rhubarb. Oh my. And it would be nice done up in individual serving bowls too. That makes it a mighty flexible dessert. I like flexibility in my decadence.


John Bailey said...


Bex said...

yes, looks very yummy. I'm sure you already know, but the English et al call dessert "pudding" no matter what it is - I think it must be sweet, but not sure...they are all called "pudding" rather than "dessert" (i.e. Dear? What's for pudding tonight?") Tt took us a while to figure that one out.

Wendy said...

Dee, that sounds so good and so tempting.

BB said...

Here I sit, only water and bp med waiting to go for second back injection and here is Dee with something so delicious looking I want to buy a ticket for Oregon! :-)

Did you get over to my place and see the roses yet?

Mage And George said...

OKOK, It's April 10th, and I want the next installment. :)