A citrus sponge with tart, syrupy sauce to comfort in the colder months
The appearance at the greengrocers of pale wooden boxes of clementines is a sure sign that Christmas is coming—if the decorations around the Market haven’t already given it away. You can serve these puddings as an alternative to figgy pudding and brandy butter, though really they’re too good to confine to just one day; the citrus sponge and syrupy, tart, cranberry-studded sauce (served loose, not stiff like the condiment)will bring comfort throughout the colder months. Both the sponges and sauce can be cooked in advance.
For the sponges:
60g light muscovado sugar
5 medium clementines
4 large eggs
Around 220g salted butter at room temperature (all becomes clear in the method)
Around 220g golden caster sugar
Around 220g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
For the sauce:
80g fresh cranberries
Juice of 4 medium clementines
60g light muscovado sugar
Double cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the base and sides of 8 x 150ml dariole moulds or ramekins with butter.
Divide the light muscovado sugar between each greased mould, rolling it around so that it sticks to the base and sides, and leaves about 1 tsp of the sugar in each base. Finely grate the zest from the clementines and set aside. Peel the fruit and use a sharp knife to cut each into four 1-2cm-thick rounds. Place the biggest eight slices in the base of the moulds on top of the sugar, and put the rest in a small saucepan (to be used in the sauce).
Weigh the eggs, then measure the same weight of butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour (about 220g of each) into separate bowls. Combine the sugar and butter, then cream together until light and fluffy (by hand with a wooden spoon and plenty of elbow grease, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Crack in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg fully before adding the next, then mix in the flour, baking powder and clementine zest. Divide the batter evenly among the moulds so they are three-quarters full. Place the moulds on a baking tray and bake for 25 mins until risen and golden. A metal skewer should come out clean.
Add the sauce ingredients to the clementine segments in the saucepan. Heat gently for 5-10 mins, until half of the cranberries have popped, a few have split and the rest remain intact. Avoid bursting too many as the sauce will become mushy and thick.
If you’ve made the sponges and sauce in advance, warm the sponges in a 140C oven for 10 mins, and reheat the sauce gently for 3-5 mins, avoiding popping too many cranberries. Trim off any overflowing sponge so that the puddings will sit flat. Use a small palette knife to loosen the sponges, then turn them out onto plates or bowls. Spoon the sauce over the top, and serve with double cream.
Recipe: Ed Smith from The Borough Market Cookbook (Hodder & Stoughton, £25)
Image: Kim Lightbody