Puddings to make you smile! The homemade golden syrup – which is darker and richer than shop-bought – makes all the difference. There’s a double-cherry treat, too – in the filling and in the finish.
Make the syrup. Tip 30g of the caster sugar into a small pan and add 2 tablespoons of cold water. Place over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and cook for 3–5 minutes, until you have a golden, caramel syrup.
Remove from the heat and very carefully pour in the just-boiled water (stand back as the caramel will spit a bit). Return to a low heat, add the lemon wedge and remaining 100g sugar, then stir until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 20 minutes, until you have a light golden colour and a syrupy consistency. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Cut the top and base off the pineapple and carefully cut away the skin from top to bottom. Cut 6 horizontal slices, each about 1cm thick, from the pineapple. Using the 6cm cutter, cut the pineapple slices into neat rounds (eat the trimmings). Using the 1.5cm cutter, cut a hole in the centre of each round to remove the core and make 6 pineapple rings.
Divide the syrup equally between the pudding moulds. Place a pineapple ring in each mould and a maraschino cherry in the centre of each pineapple ring. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
Make the sponge. Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on medium speed for 3–5 minutes, until pale and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour until just combined.
Spoon the sponge batter equally into the moulds and level with the back of the spoon. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until risen, golden and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Leave to cool in the moulds for 3–5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the custard. Heat the milk in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat to just below boiling point.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar, cornflour and vanilla extract with an electric hand whisk until pale and fluffy.
Whisking continuously, pour the warmed milk over the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring continuously, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To decorate, whip the double cream to soft peaks and spoon into the piping bag fitted with a medium closed star nozzle. Pipe a rosette of cream on the top of each pineapple cake and finish with a maraschino cherry with stem. Serve the cakes with the warm custard, if you wish.