Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Friday, 14 September 2012

It's not all about Scouse. Introducing Wet Nelly, the pudding that sticks to your ribs.

The dish that is synonymous with Liverpool is Scouse, a version of which has graced this very blog right here and is one of those heartwarming (Northern) dishes that makes grim months like November and January seem bearable. It is poor man's food but you'd never know it because it's too damn good to be ever thought of as poor.
Which brings me to a poor man's pudding, for dinner shall not be complete without something for dessert. There are lots of cakes associated with the North, with numerous towns having some sort of confectionery that they call their own. 'Wet Nelly' is probably the one you have never heard of. A native of Liverpool, (and its environs, it will be argued) she is closely related to Nelson cake (google it) but here she is smartened up a bit with a dash of alcohol and a pastry crust. More 'Mildly Moist Elizabeth' than 'Wet Nelly', maybe.
I googled the recipe after visiting Speke Hall recently with the family. By virtue of their dad, they have some sort of connection to Speke Hall and Lola and Finn spent a lot of the time telling anyone who would listen that they were here to visit Grandma's house. We wound up at the cafe and after having a bowl of Scouse each (no longer poor man's food here, £6.75 for a smallish bowl and it was virtually blind - buck your ideas up please National Trust!) I spied the Wet Nelly. I had to make one. So a few minutes on Google and here you are.
Here we are! Speke Hall! Back to claim what is rightfully ours!!!
My adaptations were that I soaked my raisins in Marsala because it was out on the work top and I couldn't be bothered finding the rum, which the recipe suggests. My quantities for sweet pastry will leave with you with half left which you can freeze and then be moments away from whipping up something a bit tarty, which I like to do, often. If that isn't your thing, then just half the quantities for the sweet pastry listed below.
'Wet Nelly', adapted from the recipe from Tom Bridge: Cookery Detective
Serves 6, very well indeed
For the pastry:
8oz/225g plain flour
4oz/110g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge
3oz/80g caster sugar
1 large egg, to bind
For the filling:
225g / 8 oz trifle sponge or sponge cake or broken biscuits crumbled (I used trifle sponges blitzed in the food processor)
110g / 4 oz raisins, soaked in a little dark rum (I used Marsala, a couple of tablespoons)
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp full fat milk
4 tbsp golden syrup
Beaten egg to glaze
Start by soaking your raisins. By the time you are ready to make the filling the raisins should have plumped up.
To make the pastry, blitz the flour, sugar and cold butter together in a food processor, or rub together by hand until you get a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the egg to bind the pastry together.
Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for about an hour or so. It is quite a squidgy pastry and will need to be chilled sufficiently.
When the pastry is ready, butter a suitable pan. I used an 8 inch (20cm approx) fluted loose bottomed flan tin.
Flour a board and roll out enough pastry to line the bottom and sides of your pan. You can do a bit of a patch job if the pastry is proving difficult to handle. Trim the edges.
Set the oven to Gas Mark 5, 190c /375f
Mix together the sponge crumbs, raisins, lemon rind and juice, milk and syrup.
Place the mixture into the pastry case.
Roll out some more pastry to cover the filling and before placing the lid on top, brush the edges of the pastry in the flan tin with some beaten egg so that the sides and pastry top will stick together when they're crimped. Seal and crimp the edges and then brush the top with beaten egg.
Not too fussed about the odd crack. I am about to drown it in custard.
Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. or until browning on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.
Serve warm with custard.

April 2014 - I have just discovered my fellow blogger, Phil from the excellent blog 'As Strong as Soup' has produced a razzle dazzle, upmarket version of this fine Liverpool delicacy. You can read about and learn how to make it here.

1 comment:

  1. Despite spending a lot of time in Liverpool over the years, I've never come across Wet Nelly. That's a serious pudding - I'd be very pleased to get a piece of this in the depths of winter. It's strange that scouse has become expensive, touristy food. (I used to get a generous bowlful at a reasonable price in Bold Street).
    The figure in the background of your photograph in period costume isn't one of the famous ghosts of Speke Hall is it?


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