Heg Peg Dump
The heat this summer has made meal planning difficult. If anything even remotely sounds good, I don't want to have to turn on the stove or the oven to make it! So, I've gone out of my way to find recipes I haven't tried before and really really want to experience to force myself into the kitchen!
I recently purchased an out-of-print cookbook, Cattern Cakes and Lace: A Calendar of Feasts by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer. The book is organized by festivals which marked the traditional British ritual year. I turned to the July section and lo and behold, a recipe for Heg Peg Dump in honor of St. Margaret's Day, which was last Wednesday (July 20th). St. Margaret became the patron saint of childbirth (despite her virgin status) due to the story that she escaped unscathed from the belly of a dragon which was Satan in disguise. Hey, at least it's original.
Saint Margaret, Dressed as a Shepherdess by Francisco de Zurbarán
According to Cattern Cakes and Lace, celebrating St. Margaret's Day was most popular in Gloucestershire, where the people created a Heg Peg Dump: "Heg for hedgerow, Peg for Margaret, and Dump for dumpling!" (p. 87) I supposed my version should (in the interests of veracity) be called "Green Acres Market Peg Dump," but it lacks that certain something.
Beyond the dough, the plums and an apple, the only other ingredients for Heg Peg Dump are sugar and fresh breadcrumbs.
Heg Peg Dump
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ lb unsalted butter, frozen
approximately ½ cup cold water
1 lb plums, stoned and sliced
½ lb Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh white breadcrumbs (not the kind from the store, they’ll be too dry)
You’ll want to go ahead and fill your steamer and put it over high heat so it can come to a boil.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Grate the butter over the flour mixture and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles sand. Add in enough water so that the dough starts to come together. You may not need the entire ½ cup, but you might also need more, depending on your weather.
Roll out 2/3 of the pastry to 1/8” thick on a floured board and line the pudding basin with it. Place a layer of apple slices at the bottom, topped with a layer of plums, ¼ cup sugar and a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Repeat. I only had room for 2/3 of fruit, so I reserved the rest (along with the extra ¼ cup sugar and extra pastry) for a tart. (See below.)
Fold the overhanging pastry over the top of the filling and pinch to seal. You can use a bit of the leftover pastry to help cover the filling completely, if you need to. Cover the basin with crimped aluminum foil and parchment paper and tie with kitchen twine (see video at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/videos/1060/steaming-a-pudding). Steam 2 ½ hours, topping water off with boiling water, as needed, throughout the process. Keep an eye on the steamer and don’t let it boil dry.
Adapted from “Heg Peg Dump” in Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, Cattern Cakes and Lace: A Calendar of Feasts (London: Dorling Kindersley, 1987), 87.
For the tart:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take the remaining 1/3 of the pastry and roll out in a circle, 1/8” thick on a floured board. Leaving a ½” border, top with apple slices, then plum slices. Sprinkle with ¼ cup sugar. Using a large spatula, transfer the tart to a baking sheet and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until all the sugar has melted and the crust is a golden brown.
Download and print
Check out this video at BBC Good Food to learn how you can, too.
When a kitchen task (such as affixing foil to the top of a pudding basin with a tricksy little piece of kitchen twine) requires precision, get a detail-oriented, perfectionist engineer to do it. Just don't expect him to get it done quickly. I know if I need Paul to help me with chopping to give him three times longer than I would need to finish the task. The man can make beautifully diced carrots. I, on the other hand, don't give a damn. Have I mentioned that I'm not a process person? I do, however, feel a great sense of satisfaction at steaming a pudding. The only work required is topping off the steamer pot with boiling water from the kettle. I always make sure a pudding is steaming around teatime, so I can just make a cup of tea when I go to top off the steamer. Ah, efficiency.
I also had enough dough and filling to make a tart with the leftovers. The tart is ridiculously simple, looks "rustic" (like, on purpose) and tastes caramelized. It's amazing how different cooking methods create different results with the same ingredients: the texture of the pudding is like a biscuit (an American one, not a cookie) with preserves on top. If you like a tart topping to your morning toast (like orange marmalade) you'll really like the flavor of the Heg Peg Dump.
Heg Peg Tart
In case you're wondering, I use an All-Clad Multipot (with the steamer insert) and a Mason Cash 1-quart pudding basin.
I'm also submitting this post to Monthly Mingle. Be sure to check it out!