This is a delicious pudding which is perfect for this time of year. It’s warm, comforting, relatively healthy, a doddle to put together and more importantly delicious!
It’s a simple mixture of lightly cooked apple topped with a quick almond batter that bakes into a delicious sponge-topped apple pudding. The sponge is made using ground almonds, rather than flour meaning it’s also gluten free – I didn’t adapt it to be this way, this is the way my mum has baked this dessert for years. You can’t go wrong with the pairing of apple and almond.
The only change I have made to my mums version is to use light brown sugar in the topping rather than white sugar. This results in a more golden coloured sponge and a subtle caramel overtone, which is delicious with the apple.
I love Bramley apples for their juicy tartness and the way they easily cook down into fluffy mounds of smooth apple puree. I have often enjoyed tucking in to bowlfuls of this on its own, especially for breakfast with yogurt or porridge. However for this pudding you also want some pieces of apple to add texture and bite. A simple way to achieve this is to stir some raw apple slices through the puree just before baking. The apple gets fully cooked in the oven but retains its shape and provides a good contrast to the smooth apple puree.
This pudding is comfort in a bowl, perfect for this time of year. To me it needs no accompaniment, but I wouldn’t say no to serving it with some thick creamy custard either.
Apple & Almond Sponge Pudding
700g Bramley apples
50g caster sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
80g ground almonds
50g light soft brown sugar
½ tsp almond extract
Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze the juice of half a lemon, lime or orange into it. Peel, core and slice the apples into 1cm thick slices, placing them in the citrus water to prevent them from browning.
Transfer two-thirds of the apple into a large saucepan and add 1 tbsp water. Heat gently until the apples start to break down and soften. Add the sugar and cinnamon and cook until the apple has almost completely broken down. Taste the apple and add a little more sugar if it is too tart for you (the sponge topping will add sweetness).
Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the remaining third of raw apple. Transfer the apple mix into a large oblong or square pudding basin, you will want the apple mix to fill it almost to the top.
Preheat the oven to 190C and prepare the spongy topping.
Melt the butter in the microwave or a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and mix well with a spoon or spatula. Lightly whisk the egg and then beat into the butter mixture, followed by the almond extract and ground almonds.
Pour the runny batter evenly over the top of the apple mixture, smoothing it into the corners.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown, risen and springy to the touch.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before spooning into serving bowls and enjoying with custard, cream or on its own.
Leftovers taste great cold but can also be reheated by a short burst in the microwave.