So…now what?

My Woodford pudding is standing up. The challenge now is to get some fruit back into it. And that’s not as easy as you might think, since fruit is pretty wet stuff. Mixed into a batter and baked, it releases its moisture, creating sogginess at best and undermining structure at worst. Which is why, at least where things like cakes and muffins are concerned, you find mostly very small and/or dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and the like. Big slices of fresh apple or pear are out. As are peaches, which is a pity, since peaches are just the sort of thing I’m in the mood for here. They’d be a great match to the fine texture of my “pudding”, and to the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors. Plus, they’d give my Woodford pudding that rustic old country charm I’m after.

So what are my options then? Not many, save for one: as a topping. Sure I could just spoon a little peach jam over the top. That’d be more or less in keeping with the original recipe (having removed the jam from the batter, I just spoon it over the top…call it “deconstructed” Woodford pudding). But that seems like a bit of a cop-out. A sauce is another way to go. I could cook the peaches down with a little sugar, a little more cinnamon, maybe a dash of the old Kentucky bourbon. That could work. However I’d prefer it if I could just put it all together in a single pan, which seems more in the spirit of the thing.

The obvious answer here: an upside-down-style cake. Peaches on the bottom, immersed in caramel (which will absorb most of their moisture) with the batter poured over the top. When it’s baked you simply up-end the pan and voilà, an all-in-one fruit-and-sauce-on-the-top delight. Sounds like a plan. Now all I have to do is find peaches in January…

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