Inspired by the much-loved Bakewell tart, this pudding combines a rich almond sponge with homemade cherry jam. It’s finished off with fresh raspberries, toasted almonds and custard.
Make the jam. Place the cherries into a medium pan with the sugar and lemon juice and set over a low heat. Stir gently until the juices run and the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, until the fruit is very soft and the mixture has thickened. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and leave to cool.
Spoon 3 tablespoons of the cold jam into the base of the greased pudding basin and chill to firm up a little.
If you don’t have a snap-on lid for the basin, prepare the covering. Fold the greased disc of baking paper, greased side down, so it has a 3cm crease in the centre. Turn by 90 degrees and fold again, to create a cross. Repeat with the 27cm foil disc.
Set an upturned saucer in the base of a large pan, then fill the pan about a quarter full with hot water. Set over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, make the sponge mixture. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl. Beat well with an electric hand whisk for about 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Little by little, mix in the eggs, beating well after each addition, then add the almond extract.
Fold in half the sifted flour, then add a tablespoon of the milk followed by the rest of the flour and fold in. Keep adding more of the remaining milk until you have a smooth sponge mixture that drops thickly from a spoon when tapped.
Fold in the ground almonds, then carefully spoon into the pudding basin and spread evenly.
Cover the basin with the lid; or with the oiled baking paper (greased side down), then the foil, then tie under the rim with the string. Using a doubled length of string, make a loose handle to go over the top of the basin and tie to the string at each side.
Set the basin on the upturned saucer in the pan and add more boiling water, if necessary, so the water comes about one third of the way up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan and simmer for 2 hours. Check regularly and top up with hot water, if necessary.
Towards the end of the simmering time, make the custard. Pour the cream into a small, heavy-based pan. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and add to the pan. Heat gently over a low until steaming hot, but not boiling.
Remove from the heat. Put the egg yolks, cornflour and caster sugar into a heatproof bowl and beat well until smooth, light and creamy. Slowly pour in the hot cream, stirring continuously, then tip the mixture back into the pan. Stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon – don’t let it boil. Pour into a warmed serving jug.
When the pudding is ready, carefully remove the basin from the pan and take off the covering. Loosen the sponge, and leave it to stand for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a warm serving plate and decorate around the base with the raspberries and on top with the almonds. Serve with the custard.