There is a reason I chose to make an Apple and Blackberry Charlotte, apart from the fact that I’m in love with autumn fruits. It’s my namesake! And therefore about time I made it.

pudding_montage

This pudding should take less time to make than going down to the shops to buy one, but it’s an autumn classic and tastes of long summer evenings and laughter with friends. If you’re feeling either a bit adventurous or really hungry and skint, you could go and scrump your own apples and gather up some free blackberries, which will be everywhere in a couple of weeks. Keep an eye out though, once the blackberries come out people snap them up fast! Apple trees go more unnoticed – look and you’ll start seeing them everywhere!

The pudding is basically pieces of white bread (crusts cut off) dipped in melted butter and lining a dish. Stew your apples in a bit of lemon juice and water then mix with breadcrumbs and the rest of your fruit, pour into your bread and butter dish and then add a bread-lid, topping with the remaining melted butter. Cook. So easy. Here is the recipe:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/749641/apple-and-blackberry-charlotte

Of course, it’s best served with custard – and what’s better than home-made custard, especially when you add that vanilla pod that has been lying around for a while 😉 Fortunately, Delia has a no-nonsense guide to custard-making which is even easier than this pudding. Hot cream, with a mix of a couple of egg-yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla added. My tip would be that if you’re making it on your own (fortunately I was cooking with a friend, so this didn’t happen) it can be hard to keep whisking when you add all the ingredients. If your custard goes lumpy, get an egg-whisk and just keep whisking it until it’s completely smooth as you heat it. YUM! With real vanilla pod seeds you get the wonderful colour and speckled finish.
http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/sweet/traditional-english-custard.html

It has been an odd week, one full of light and dark. In some ways I feel so creative, free, and intensely alive and myself, and yet in others there is a lot of hurt and disappointment going on when I thought things were beginning to fade into memory. Such is life sometimes, but I find that particularly when I’m down, another side of me comes alive in a positive way to compensate and I’m suddenly surrounded by friends, possibilities, potential and inspiration too. It can be testing living in the countryside at times, away from university life and friends, not giving you any opportunity to escape from who you are and what you might be going through. But I’m starting to learn that it’s better to go through things that to try and suppress or even rise above them, as that’s how you really come out stronger the other side. It may sound obvious, but it can be tempting to always want control over, and be distanced from painful situations. It’s only a temporary fix.

For me, that’s where cooking and baking come in. That is what really gets me through, and can push my mood from one end of the scale to another like nothing and no one else can. I think we probably all have something like this, but if we don’t we should. Creativity is such a powerful tool of self-expression. Speaking of which, I’m dying in anticipation of making the next celebration cake for Thursday. A little hint of the theme: Cocktails. And I’ll leave you with another creative moment – busking at Kempsford Manor in a rare moment of sunshine this afternoon.

Busking at Kempsford Manor Gardens
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