Monday, 29 March 2010

An excellent way to get fat

Quite a random post today. I thought I'd take a break from talking about writing, life, etc and instead share a recipe/treat that I discovered five or six years ago. In the world of the Mandanna family and friends, it's called rum and biscuit pudding, but I daresay there are other 'rum and biscuit puddings' that aren't much like this and I also suspect the original recipe might have been called something different. Such is the astonishing, mouthwatering, jaw-dropping amazingness of this rum and biscuit pudding, however, that I felt I should mention it. Everyone should indulge in this treat at least once. Oh, how I swoon. How I crave it this very instant.

My mother made this dessert for me when I was about sixteen, and I fell in love at once. Ever since, whenever she asks me what I'd like on my birthday (at least, the birthdays I used to be home for) and what I'd like to eat when I arrive back in Bangalore after nine months away at university in England, I say 'rum and biscuit pudding, please'. Sometimes I even forget the 'please', lost as I am in my lust for the pudding.

As far as I know, my mother got this recipe off a friend, and I don't know where they got the recipe from or if they made it up. So, bear in mind this may already exist and be marked out as someone's recipe. This is just our version, as I learned to make it.

Time: Preparation will take between fifteen minutes and half an hour, depending on how deft you are. After that, you'll need two hours for the dessert to refrigerate at normal fridge temperature. Do NOT freeze. 

What you'll need: 
[bear in mind this will be dessert for about four people, with leftovers]

  • If you're in India or thereabouts, two packets of Marie Biscuits. If you don't know what these are, then ordinary digestive biscuits will do.
  • A tin of condensed milk
  • Half a pint of regular cow's milk (even a third of a pint will do)
  • A quarter-bottle of dark rum. This is probably about 250ml. You won't even need this much, but it depends on how strong you like your pudding.
  • Fresh cream. Preferably double rather than single. Between 250-500ml
  • Tinned peaches. If you can't find peaches, tinned mangoes will do. Two or three tins, depending on the size.
  • Two regular bowls, spoons, and one large flat dish suitable for refrigeration. Casserole dishes work well. 
Begin by mixing the tin of condensed milk with the rum. This bit is the trickiest part, because the key to the wonderful taste is in exactly how much rum you use (accounting, of course, for how much of a raging, compulsively addicted alcoholic or binge-drinker you are). Too much rum, and the taste is too strong. Too little, and you miss out on the slight, delicious kick. When I make this, I always try to add just enough dark rum that, when you mix it in with the condensed milk, the mixture turns a light caramel-brown colour. Think of light toffee. Any darker than toffee might be too much rum, but this is one of those situations where you need to taste it yourself and see if you like the balance of rum/sweet. 

Once you have the rum and condensed milk mixed in a bowl, set it aside. Pour the cow's milk into the other regular bowl and start soaking the biscuits in the milk. About five seconds will do. You don't want the biscuits getting so soggy they crumble as soon as you pull them out of the milk, but you want them just soft enough not to be crunchy.

In the flat dish/casserole dish, layer the biscuits with the tinned fruit. So, a layer of biscuits to cover the base of the dish, then a layer of fruit, then biscuits again, then fruit. You should have two layers of each, with no spaces between the biscuits (so layer them on top of each other even within the layer to make sure there are no gaps), with the fruit on the top.

Once this is done, pour the rum and condensed milk over the layers. The mixture will and should trickle through all the layers and pool into any tiny gaps, soaking into the biscuits and swimming about gently. You should have enough that nothing feels dry, but not so much that the layers are swamped in condensed milk/rum.

Finally, add the fresh cream over the top, spreading it and layering it so that it slides through the gaps and finally covers the fruit completely.

Put the dish in the fridge for about two hours, take out when it's time for dessert, and prepare to swoon.

I hope I haven't forgotten anything. This is my first time writing up a recipe from scratch (it's always been in my head, narrated by my mother as she explained/showed it to me), so I don't know if I'm clear/detailed enough. I hope anyone who tries this enjoys it as much as I do.

Good luck! I'd love to hear how it went.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds gorgeous! I love Marie biscuits and Tiger biscuits, I bring packets of them back each time.
    Thanks for sharing the family secret!