Rhubarb and whiskey pudding

by Alison, 14/08/2013

On the August Bank Holiday we visited Strandhill and as I mentioned we got to eat in Shells Cafe.

Shells is one of my favorite cafe's. Not only is the food fresh and delicious but on a sunny day you can sit outside watching the surf and listening to the waves. They also have a cookbook, for those of us who live too far away to justify a day trip for a pot of tea and a cake.

So last weekend, when the wind turned onshore and the sky turned grey, I knew exactly where to look. I had tried their Irish whiskey pudding last summer and it was a resounding success with everyone. However I wanted to make it a little more home-grown. 

My version is made with Irish rhubarb. The rhubarb was grown by my mum and frozen in batches back in May.

Rhubarb always makes me think of home, Sunday dinners and my grand-dad. He lived in Rathmines, right in the heart of Dublin,  but his back garden was always full of fresh fruit and vegetables. I can definitely attribute both his and my mum's green fingers as a large inspiration in creating our own greenhouse. Every Sunday he would call with a striped plastic bag full of his latest pickings. Of all the fruit, the rhubarb was always my favourite. My mum would make it into golden tarts and oozing crumbles. 

So here is my version of a comforting weekend treat. I hope you like it and I would love to hear any feedback.

Ingredients for the pudding:
250g rhubarb (either fresh or defrosted), cut roughly into 2 inch pieces.
50g  castor sugar
2 tbs water (if using fresh rhubarb)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g butter, softened
200g light brown sugar
1 egg
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g pecan nuts, chopped

Ingredients for the whiskey syrup:
250g castor sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of whiskey (Jameson is our preference but any Irish whiskey will do. Bourbon or Scotch need not apply)
1 tsp vanilla extract
30g butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Gently whipped cream (and when I say extra, I really mean essential. This is pudding after all)

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C / 350˚F.
Grease an oven-proof dish (Ours is a 9'' x 9'' dish).
Place the rhubarb and castor sugar (and water if using fresh rhubarb) in a small pot and bring to the boil.

Once boiling remove from the heat, stir-in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cool.

Chop the pecans- either with a knife or food processor.
Cream the butter and the sugar together- the softer your butter is the easier this will be.
Once these are well mixed, add the egg and again cream the mixture.
Sift the flour and baking powder and add to the creamed mixture.
Add the rhubarb and fold the mixture together.
Fold in the nuts and pour the mixture into the greased dish.
Bake in the oven for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

While the pudding is baking, measure out all your ingredients for the syrup.

Place the castor sugar, water, butter and vanilla extract in a pot and place on a medium heat. 
Bring the mixture to the boil,stirring constantly to ensure the sugar dissolves properly. Takes about 10 minutes.
Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the whiskey and cinnamon. 

To serve, pour the whiskey over the individual portions and add some whipped cream.

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