These lemony sponge cakes are deceptively easy. Learn How to make custard with this step-by-step guide
Richard: "These fruity little sponges are easy to make and deliciously warming on a cold day. You can soak the raisins in the sherry for as long as you like beforehand. Don’t be shy and think there’s too much liquid when you mix them in with the batter – the sponge will soak it all up. When making the custard, make sure to keep stirring the mixture and cook it over a low heat, otherwise you will end up with scrambled eggs"
For the custard
To make the puddings, first soak the raisins in the sherry for about 5 minutes, or until they become plump. Then butter and flour 4 x 150ml ramekins or moulds. Cut out circles of greaseproof paper big enough to line the bottom of each mould and place in the buttered moulds.
Mix together the golden syrup, 3 tablespoons of the lemon marmalade, lemon zest and soaked raisins. Spoon evenly into the bottom of each mould.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale in colour with a creamy consistency. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one is added to the mixture. Gently fold in the flour, then the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon marmalade and the sherry from the raisins.
Divide the mixture evenly between the moulds so they are about two thirds full. Cover each mould with cling film or a buttered square of foil and secure with butcher’s string.
To steam the puddings, use a saucepan big enough to hold all the moulds on a plate. Place an upturned empty ramekin or small heatproof bowl inside the saucepan, then pour in 2½cm of water. Place a heatproof plate on top of the ramekin and put the moulds on it. Cover the saucepan with its lid and steam over a low heat for 30–40 minutes. To check the puddings are cooked, insert a skewer into the middle of one of them. It should come out clean.
While the puddings are cooking, make the custard. Pour the cream and milk into a small saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the halved vanilla pod and add the seeds and pod to the pan. Warm through over a low to medium heat but do not boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Stir in a little of the hot vanilla cream to loosen the mixture, then pour the eggs and sugar into the pan containing the rest of the cream and milk.
Return the saucepan to a low heat and cook, stirring all the time, until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and pour the contents into a bowl or jug to stop it overcooking – cover with cling film to stop a skin forming.
Turn the puddings out of their moulds on to individual plates and serve with the custard.
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