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Little Citrus Sponges and Custard

These fruity little sponges are easy to make and deliciously warming on a cold day.


  • 50g raisins

  • 5 tbsp sherry

  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

  • 6 tbsp lemon marmalade

  • 2 tsp finely grated unwaxed lemon zest

  • 115g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease the moulds

  • 115g light muscovado sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 115g self-raising flour, sifted, plus extra to dust the moulds

  • For the custard

  • 250ml double cream

  • 150ml whole milk

  • 1 vanilla pod, split down the middle

  • 3 egg yolks

  • 50g caster sugar


  • 1.

    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.

  • 2.

    Mix together the golden syrup, 3 tablespoons of the lemon marmalade, lemon zest and soaked raisins. Spoon evenly into the bottom of each mould.

  • 3.

    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.

  • 4.

    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.

  • 5.

    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.

  • 6.

    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.

  • 7.

    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.

  • 8.

    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.

  • 9.

    Turn the puddings out of their moulds on to individual plates and serve with the custard.

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