Where shall I begin? For my third attempt I decided to adapt Delia’s recipe for pear charlotte which, amazingly, is cooked cold. The trick is to soak the sponge fingers in a mix of white wine with dissolved caster sugar and a teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon. They line a bowl covered in clingfilm (yes, really). Into it go the purÃ©ed apples (Notts bramleys) with lemon zest and juice. Eek! There weren’t enough, so I filled up the bowl with stewed pears, brambles and figs. I topped with more soaked sponge fingers, poured the rest of the syrup over it, then a layer of clingfilm on top.
A saucer just fitted inside the dish, so on it was supposed to go a weight. I used a pumpkin. It looked silly, but it did the job. The recipe said 6 hours in the fridge, but this had 9. It worked brilliantly! The sponge fingers were thoroughly moist, and the clingfilm came away to reveal a substantial pudding. Since the spice was in the syrup-infused sponge, the tart taste of the fruit came unalloyed alongside it. I served it with cream and it was sensational!