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Upside-down lemon, maple and vanilla pudding with lemon-maple butter

Winter Dessert
8 people
Featured in
OTK Shelf Love cookbook

This magnificent pudding was made with the purpose of showcasing winter lemons, their bitter flesh a great way to cut through an otherwise decadent eating experience. As happy accidents go, this was tested alongside a separate dish which included a maple-butter sauce. A squeeze of lemon and a generous amount of maple butter was spooned over the pudding because well, why not, and it suddenly dawned on us that lemon-maple butter had been the missing component all along. Lesson learned: sometimes that which is very, very wrong can turn out to be really quite right.


3 medium lemons, thinly sliced into ¼cm-thick rounds to get 24 slices, pips removed
165ml maple syrup
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways, seeds scraped and reserved with the pod
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, then cut into 2cm cubes
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
225g light soft brown sugar
60ml whole milk
240g crème fraîche, to serve
50ml lemon juice
120ml maple syrup
120g unsalted butter, fridge cold and cut into 1½cm cubes


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan. Line a baking dish about 30cm x 20cm
    in size with a piece of baking parchment large enough to cover the base
    and sides, with enough overhang to fold over the pudding as well.
  2. Place a large, non-stick frying pan on a high heat and, once very hot,
    char a third of the lemon slices on both sides – about 1–2 minutes per
    side. Continue in this way with the rest.
  3. Put 120ml of maple syrup and the scraped-out vanilla pod in the base of your prepared baking dish. Top with the charred lemon slices, spreading out so they cover the entire base, overlapping in places.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment in place, and mix on medium speed to combine. Add the
    softened butter, eggs, yolk, vanilla seeds, brown sugar, milk and the
    remaining 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, and mix on medium speed for 2
    minutes until combined. The mixture will look as if it’s split a little
    with some smaller cubes of butter – but that’s okay.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, snipping the base, and pipe the mixture
    evenly on top of the lemons in the baking dish (piping the mixture
    ensures the lemons don’t move around too much). Gently smooth over the
    mixture with the back of a spoon. Fold over the excess baking parchment
    to cover, then wrap the dish tightly in foil.
  6. Place the baking dish in a larger roasting tin (roughly 40cm x 28cm). Pour enough boiling water into the tin to come 3cm up the sides (about 1 litre),
    then bake for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre
    comes out clean. Remove the foil, unwrap the top of the pudding and lift
    out the baking dish from the water. Set aside for 5 minutes before
    carefully inverting the whole thing on to a platter, removing the
    parchment paper to expose the lemons.
  7. Towards the last 10 minutes of cooking, make the lemon-maple butter. Put the lemon juice and maple syrup into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on a
    medium-high heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to
    low and, when no longer simmering, gradually add the butter cubes a little at a time, whisking with each addition until incorporated. Don’t let the mixture boil at all – you should be left with an emulsified sauce. Remove from the heat.
  8. Drizzle one-third of the lemon-maple butter all over the pudding and serve warm, with the extra maple butter and crème fraîche alongside