by Brian Turner from Great British Grub (Headline)
Very few people make things like this pudding now, but once they would have been a major part of the diet – the protein of the cheese & eggs bulked out with the bread. My father used to make a pudding like this with onions, which was delicious. I have substituted leeks, and served the pudding on slices of beetroot for a more sophisticated finish.
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
55g/2oz unsalted butter
225g/8oz grated mature Cheddar cheese, grated
175g/6oz fresh white breadcrumbs
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
300ml/10 fl oz double cream
300ml/10 fl oz milk
4 cooked beetroot
25g/1oz unsalted butter
Splash of white wine vinegar
1. Cook the beetroots in salted water to cover, until just cooked, about 45-60 mins, but depending on size. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, remove the skin & set aside.
2. Wash & clean the leeks & cook whole in boiling salted water for 5 mins. Drain well, cool & then cut in half lengthways. Lay flat-side down on the board, & cut into 5mm (¼ in) shreds or strips, not too fine.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Butter a 1.2L (2 pint, 25x19x6cm approx) pie dish, then sprinkle with some of the grated cheese.
4. Put a layer of leeks in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with some of the breadcrumbs, then repeat this layering twice more.
5. Beat the eggs well together in a large bowl, then add the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper to taste, along with the rest of the cheese. Warm the milk & cream together, pour over the cheese mixture, then gently pour all this over the leeks & breadcrumbs in the pie dish.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins until golden & set, then take out & leave to sit for 5 mins while you pan-fry the beetroot.
7. Slice the beetroot into 5mm (¼ in) slices, & pan-fry in a medium frying pan in the butter for about 3 mins. Turn over, & cook for another 3 mins. Add a splash of vinegar & some salt & pepper & let it evaporate over the heat quickly.
8. Arrange slices of the beetroot in a circle on individual plates, & spoon a portion of pudding on top using a large metal spoon. Serve hot.
(Nigel sprinkled chopped chives over the top).