“ Brand: The Pudding Club / Type: Puddings „
According to the Pudding Club website at www.puddingclub.com, their meetings are referred to as the 8th wonder of the world! Readers not familiar with this elite organisation may need to become acquainted with some basic facts. Since 1985 a group of people have been meeting in a hotel in the Cotswolds to celebrate puddings! Yes - weekly meetings in which members devour lashings of helpings of seven puddings following on from modest main courses are held, in order to celebrate the good old British pudding, and everything it has to offer! Since 1985 devotees of crumbles, sponges and pies, have been gathering together, and my first knowledge of this was when their meetings at the Three Ways House Hotel (Home of The Pudding Club) were broadcast on television. Not only is the hotel the venue for the club meetings, but the bedrooms, should you be too stuffed to drive home, are all elaborately decked out in sweet fashion, and are themed - the chocolate room even has chocolate bubble bath! Or how about the "Spotted Dick and Custard room"?
The beginnings of this club were born when Keith and Jean Turner started the meetings out of a need to preserve the good old traditions of puddings lashing with hot bowls of steaming custard. These traditional desserts were giving way to small portions of frozen gateaux in many restaurants all over Britain and their mission was to halt it! The evenings were a steaming success, and culminated in the vote, which saw the favourite of the night crowned as the pudding of the moment!
So moving on from this has been the manufacture and sale of some of the puddings commercially, and this summer you will find the subject of this review- The Gooseberry and Elderflower Crumble, nestling on the shelves of Waitrose, or available from the home delivery company - Ocado.
Individual puddings, these are on offer at £2.50 for two. Now being quite a keen cook myself, purchasing bought crumbles has to be, for me anyway, rather pointless, as it takes me only moments to put together a crumble, as the recipe is so simple. So I was rather sceptical about these, but I decided that I would buy them anyway as sometimes it is good to be lazy. As it happened I was able to run an experiment which became possible more by luck than design. Each week I have an order with the organic company Abel and Cole, and this week they had promised to enclose some freshly picked elderflowers as a freebie! I had also been to our local pick your own farm, where I had purchased some lovely gooseberries. "Great!" I thought - "I'll make my own version of this and see how it compares to the Pudding Club version"- so here we go for the results!
The Pudding Club crumble is a fresh item and is to be stored in the fridge until needed.
It has gooseberries, flour, sugar, spring water, elderflowers, citric acid, apple, butter, raising agents and vanilla. Cooking is simple, you oven cook for 14 minutes at 400f, 200c or gas mark 6. You can also microwave, but this isn't really in keeping with the perfection these puddings are trying to provide.
The taste was lovely. The gooseberries were beautiful, just slightly tart with a lovely summery flavour, and the crumble was golden brown, crunchy, and delicious, and overall extremely moist. I served ours with Daylesford Gooseberry and Elderflower ice cream, which is the perfect accompaniment, which is also available in Waitrose and from Ocado.
Making my alternative was very quick and easy. I placed the gooseberries into a dish and sprinkled over the elderflowers by just using a fork to separate them from the stems. Then I made a simple crumble with flour, caster sugar and butter and this took 3 minutes to make and 20 to cook. My version had more flavour, in that the elderflowers were so much more prevalent as a flavour in the crumble, but of course they were freshly picked so that is why I am sure. Other than that the puddings were identical in every way, other than price as mine was substantially cheaper to make.
So with this comparison done would I purchase again? - Most definitely. You are buying quality and a passion. I am personally rather a pudding lover, and this one is perfect for a summer evening in the garden and is a dessert which would delight most. I think it is lovely for a small dinner for two when you are making a summer meal.
At £2.50 for two the price is very reasonable for quality, and in my opinion the only way you can better this dish is to have freshly picked elderflowers to use in your own version, which most of us don't throughout the year.
Each pudding is 300 calories so about average for a dessert of this type, but you can be thrilled in the knowledge that there are no colours, hydrogenated fats, or preservatives of any kind. Also suitable for vegetarians which is brilliant as all my family are veggies!
You can freeze the puddings so that you can enjoy the taste of summer all year round, even in the depth of winter. You just have to remember to thaw them just before you cook them. For wine lovers, any New Zealand sauvignon blanc wines such as Oyster Bay or Villa Maria, when served with these are a marriage made in heaven. These little bowls of summer really do live up to their expectations! Now to try one of their other delights- the Bramley Apple and Lemon Curd Pudding or The Rhubarb and Ginger Pudding - decisions,decisions!