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  • Sarah Rainey

Upside-down pear pud

This comforting, fruity pud reminds me of my childhood: something warm and stodgy to tuck into on a chilly evening, preferably drenched in homemade custard.

It really brings to life the idea of food as therapy - there’s no bad day a dish like this can’t cure. Upside-down desserts may sound a bit retro but they’re making a comeback - trust me - and they’re strangely satisfying to make, arranging the pieces of fruit on the base of the tray in a symmetrical jigsaw.

Once you tip it upside down to serve, I guarantee there’ll be coos of delight from your guests (and you, if it’s a dinner-for-one kinda day).

I’ve picked pear for this pudding, because I love the delicate, slightly-tart flavour they bring, but you can use any tinned fruit pieces, from peaches to pineapple.

Serves 12-14 people


2 tins of pear halves in juice (415g)

270g self-raising flour

190g golden caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 195C/ 175C fan.

Grease and line a small rectangular tin with some baking parchment (mine is 32cm by 22cm, but other sizes are fine - just be prepared for your pudding to be deeper or shallower).

Sift the flour into a bowl with the sugar and stir to combine.

Open the pear tins and, half-covering the top so the pear halves don’t fall out, tip top the juice into the cake mix and beat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth, lump-free batter.

Decant the pear halves into a bowl and arrange them in a neat pattern across the base of the tin. Remember this will be upward-facing when you serve the pudding, so you want it to look nice!

Tip the cake batter over the pears into the tin, ensuring it spreads evenly and goes into the corners and gaps between the fruit.

Place it on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 35-40 mins or until the sponge is just turning golden on top, rotating halfway through the cooking time.

You can check it’s baked by poking a wooden skewer or cocktail stick into the middle - if it comes out clean, it’s done.

Let the sponge cool for around 15 minutes before tipping it out (you might want to place your serving dish over the top of the tin and flip, so none of the juices drain away).

Serve hot, with custard - or ice-cream or yoghurt if you prefer.

Keep it covered in the fridge and it should last for around 4 days - just give each serving a quick blast in the microwave before tucking in.

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