Rhubarb, Apple and Blood Orange Eves Pudding with polenta sponge and served with a blood orange sylabub

SpringEntertainingRecipesCooking for people and occassionsHot PuddingsEaster

Eves Pudding  – soft fruit topped with a sponge cake is a timeless classic. Eves Pudding lends itself to endless variations;  Autumn, apples, pears and plums; early spring rhubarb, and in the summer soft fruits such as strawberries, apricots and peaches. The sponge too can vary from the classic butter  or diary free oil based sponge by adding ground or chopped nuts or your choice,  or as in this recipe coarse polenta  which adds a beautiful buttery yellow colour as well as an interesting texture. Or flavour the sponge with chocolate, ground ginger or ground spices such as cardamom – the variations are endless to suit the fruit and your mood.

I have tested several rhubarb eves puddings this year and this one wins hands down. The Rhubarb and apples marry beautifully and the buttery orange flavoured polenta topping is delicious. The colours shout spring – pale pink rhubarb and the orange polenta  is egg yolk yellow. This is definitely my choice of pudding for this years early Easter, with a chill still in the air, but spring on the point of uncontrollably bursting forth its creative energy. I have given you the smaller 1 litre dish quantity and a larger quantity in case you have family and friends in over the holiday.

*means watch the recipe as you are required to set something aside for another part of the dish.

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Apple, Rhubarb and Blood orange Eves Pudding with a Polenta Sponge, served with a blood orange syllabub cream

Feeds 6 -8                                                            10-12

400g rhubarb                                                     800g rhubarb

500g cooking apples                                        1kg cooking apples

3 tablespoons sugar                                        5-6 tablespoons sugar

1 blood orange                                                  2 blood oranges

125g butter                                                         250g butter

125g caster sugar                                             250g caster sugar

100g ground almonds                                     200g ground almonds

A good pinch of salt                                        ¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs                                                                   3 eggs

75g polenta flour or meal                             125g polenta flour or meal

½ teaspoon vanilla extract                           1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon baking powder                         ¾ teaspoon baking powder

Milk for mixing


Blood orange syllabub cream (simply double the amounts for the larger pudding)

Zest and juice of half a blood orange

3 tablespoons icing sugar

250ml double cream

I have staged the method enabling you to plan your cooking around the main meal.

Stage 1: The fruit – This stage can be carried out several hours or even the day before.

Preheat the oven to gas 5/170c

Chop the rhubarb into 4 cm lengths and put into a large 10cm high ovenproof dish of approximately 30cm x 25cm, 1 litre capacity.  Peel, core and slice the apples and mix with the rhubarb. Sprinkle over the sugar.

*Zest the blood orange and reserve for the sponge. Juice the orange/s. pour half of the juice over the fruit and * reserve the remainder along with the zest for the sponge.



Prepare the rhubarb and apple and fill the oven proof dish.

Cover the fruit with baking paper and cook for about 15 minutes or until the juice is running and the fruit has softened a bit. You should now have space in the dish for the sponge topping. Remove the fruit from the oven and set aside to cool. If not using until the next day then cover the dish with cling film and store it the fridge.

*You could make the syllabub cream at this stage as it will keep in the fridge covered for a good twenty four hours. See below.

Stage 2 – The polenta sponge

Preheat the oven to gas 3/160c

Put the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor and beat or blitz until creamed and soft. Stir in the ground almonds, orange zest and salt. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then stir in the polenta.  Mix in the reserved orange juice, the vanilla extract the salt, and a little milk if required. The batter should be a soft dropping consistency.

Spoon the cake batter over the prepared fruit in dollops and then gently smooth over  the fruit evenly.

Cook for 45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the sponge is set and golden. Remove from the oven and leave for up to 40 minutes in a warm place until required.

Syllabub cream:

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Blood Orange Syllabub cream – a delightful pale orange and outrageously delicious – keep that teaspoon away from the fridge!

Put the zest, juice and the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and pour in the double cream. Whisk until the cream is just holding its shape and is still glossy. Spoon into a serving bowl and chill until required.

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