There's lots to love about this apple-caramel sponge pudding: a pillowy sponge body, the unbeatable combination of warm apple and caramel, plus a lick of brandy. The only downside? You'll want to keep it all to yourself.
- 150 gm butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 1 kg mixed apples, such as Granny Smith and pink lady, peeled, cored and thickly sliced, plus 1 extra apple
- 130 gm caster sugar
- 130 gm brown sugar
- 1 tbsp brandy
- Juice and finely grated rind of ½ orange and ½ lemon
- 125 ml buttermilk, well shaken (½ cup)
- 1 egg
- 200 gm self-raising flour (1⅓ cups)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 80 gm golden syrup
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Vanilla ice-cream or thick cream, to serve
- 1Preheat oven to 180C and butter a 2-litre baking dish. Cook butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until nut brown (2-3 minutes). Pour three-quarters into a heatproof bowl. Return remaining butter to medium-high heat, add sliced apple and 40gm of each sugar and cook, tossing occasionally, until caramelised (5-6 minutes). Add brandy and juices and simmer until reduced to a syrup (1-2 minutes). Spread apples and syrup in prepared baking dish.
- 2Whisk buttermilk and egg with reserved brown butter. Combine remaining sugars, rinds, self-raising flour, vanilla, ginger and a pinch of salt in a separate bowl. Add buttermilk mixture and whisk until smooth, then pour batter over apples and smooth top. Dust evenly with cornflour, then thinly slice reserved apple on a mandolin, discard seeds and layer slices over the batter; don't worry about being too precise here – the slices will move when the liquid is added.
- 3Stir golden syrup and 350ml boiling water in a jug until combined, then gently pour mixture over the back of a large spoon onto pudding and bake until puffed and golden brown (50 minutes to 1 hour). Dust with icing sugar and serve hot with ice-cream or thick cream.