Treacle sponge pudding with spiced pears

p03b2jmqHappy New Year everybody! While we know that January is all about making resolutions and setting goals to become a better person over the year ahead, we believe that you can still treat yourself a little, even if one of your resolutions is to lose weight. That’s why today’s recipe is a gorgeously sticky dessert with a fruity accompaniment.


For the pudding

  • 200g golden syrup
  • 1 pear, peeled and thinly sliced from top to bottom
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour

For the spiced pears

  • 500ml sweet white wine
  • 3 star anise
  • Half teaspoon of cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 4 pears, peeled and cut into quarters from top to bottom
  • 1 orange, pared zest only
  • 1 lemon, pared zest only

For the custard

  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half, seeds scraped out using a sharp knife
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks


  1. Grease a 1kg/2lb 4oz rectangular terrine mould or loaf tin with butter.
  2. Pour golden syrup into the terrine mould, then arrange the pear slices on top in a single layer, overlapping the slices slightly.
  3. Beat the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined. Gently fold in the flour, then spoon the mixture into the terrine and smooth the top.
  4. Cut a large rectangle of greaseproof paper and place it on top of the pudding. Fold a rectangle of aluminium foil in half to form a double layer, then crimp that around the top of the terrine and secure with cook’s string.
  5. Place the terrine into a large saucepan and add enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the terrine. Then cover the pan with a lid, bring the water to the boil, then reduce the heat until simmering. Steam the pudding for about 1 and a half hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Be sure to check the water level halfway through cooking.
  6. Meanwhile, for the spiced pears, bring the sweet wine to the boil in a saucepan with the star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, pears, orange and lemon zests. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Set aside.
  7. For the custard, heat the milk, cream and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil.
  8. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until pale and thick, then when the milk is boiling, pour it on to the egg mixture, whisking all the time, until well combined. Then return the whole mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the custard if desired.
  9. When the sponge pudding is cooked, turn the heat off and allow it to cool slightly before removing from the pan. Unwrap to pudding and remove the greaseproof paper. Place a plate on top of the pudding and flip it over, holding the plate firmly in place. Set aside for 1-2 minutes, then remove the terrine mould – the pudding should just slide out.

And then you are ready to serve! Pile the pears into a serving bowl with the cooking liquid and pour the custard into a jug. Dish up slices of the sponge pudding and let everyone take as many pears and as much custard as they like.

While we know that pears cooked in white wine doesn’t count as one of your five a day, this pudding will certainly taste good and you won’t regret giving it a try. It will also work really well with vanilla ice cream!

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