For a while now I have been aware of a distinctly fruity theme that seems to be at the heart of my baking. Something about the way fruit reacts to being cooked, the soft squishyness of it, the way the flavours are dictated by the seasons... The silky smooth marriage of bananas and chocolate, the jewel-like glow of a plum upside-down cake, the sweet tang of baked apples... No surprise then, that my new favourite book is Rustic Fruit Desserts; arranged by season with recipes that make you want to lick the pages.
Since getting this book, one recipe has really sucked me in. Maybe it's just because I love all things Autumnal, and I seem to have an endless supply of delicious Norfolk apples (thanks to a certain culinary friend)... And the Caramel Apple Steamed Pudding certainly did not disappoint. Essentially an apple upside-down cake, but add to that a pudding mould that has been lined with homemade caramel, apple slices that have been caramelised, and a cake that has been steamed au bain marie for 90 minutes. The texture reminded me of the sticky toffee puddings I used to have as a child at my Grandparents' house - soft, dense but fluffy (as much as I hate the word, it can only be described as moist), the sticky sweetness perfectly balanced out by the ever so slightly tart apples. In fact, it was so delicious that we ate in silent appreciation, with just grunts, groans and mmmm's being the only sounds to escape our lips.