Vegetarian recipe ideas
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Butter the inside of a 1-litre heatproof pudding basin. Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 1 tbsp of flour after each if it starts to curdle. Beat in the vanilla, then fold in the flour, spices and orange zest. Stir in the milk to loosen the batter so it easily dollops off a spoon. Fold in the ground almonds.
Use the basin to draw circles onto baking paper and foil about 3cm wider than the basin. Fold a small pleat through the middle of each circle to give the pudding room to expand as it cooks. Butter one side of the circle of baking paper.
Pour the syrup into the bottom of the pudding basin and arrange the quince wedges on top. Scrape in the batter and top with the circle of baking paper, buttered-side down. Tie the baking paper and foil onto the basin with string, wrapping it twice to keep it tight. Use extra string to create a handle over the top of the pudding which will make it easier to remove from the pan once cooked.
Put an upturned saucer or trivet into a large, lidded pan and put the pudding basin on top. Fill the pan with just-boiled water until it comes halfway up the bowl, put the lid on the pan and simmer over a low heat for 3 hrs-3 hrs 30 mins, topping up the water if needed. Check the pudding is cooked by inserting a skewer through the middle – if there is any wet mixture on the skewer, recover and steam for another 15 mins.
Remove the string, foil and baking paper from the steamed sponge, and invert onto a serving plate. Cut into slices and serve with lots of cream or custard.