Apple Berry Sponge Pudding

Every now and then I end up with a recipe that is a crowd pleaser time and time again, like this one, or this one. Well now I have another to add to the list! I love this dessert because not only is it warm and cozy for these winter nights, but it has 3 of my favourite dessert components - fruit, cake and custard. Who doesn't love that?

This pudding is basically "stewed" fruit with a layer of vanilla sponge on top. It's warm and delicious served with cream, custard or ice cream. The best part is that it's super simple to make! In fact, I would go as far as saying this recipe is fail proof. Even when you think it's gonna flop, it never does. Trust me!
This pudding is a great way to use up any excess fruit you may have on hand. Pretty much any fruit will do, apples, pears, berries, stone fruit etc. The recipe is basic enough that you can get creative with different fruit and spice combinations if you're up to it.
Today's one is a simple apple berry mix with some cinnamon in there for good measure. I prefer to have some texture in the fruit layer rather than just having fruit mush, so I chose apples that remain firm once cooked. Apples like granny smith or fuji work great for this. I used pacific rose as it's readily available to me. I like to pair this apple with berries that have some tartness to them. Blackberries and raspberries are great, but I have a bag of mixed berries on hand, that included blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. All together it makes for a great mix of sweet and tart for the fruit layer. With the addition of the soft vanilla sponge and custard on top, well it's pretty much heaven.

Apple Berry Sponge Pudding (Adapted from Bite)
Serves 8
Fruit Mixture
2 large apples (I used pacific rose)
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
500g mixed berries (I used frozen)

Sponge Top
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
sliced almonds to decorate

Heat the oven to 180C. Lightly butter a 2L-cup capacity oven-proof dish.

Peel, core and cube your apples. Place apples in a saucepan with the water, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Cook on medium heat until the apples have softened. Add in your mixed berries and continue to cook until the berries have softened. It will take about 5-6 minutes.
While that's happening, make your sponge top.

Using a hand mixer, beat sugar and butter in a medium bowl until pale a fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined. Add flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture. At this point you should have a fairly thick mixture. Add milk, and mix in. You should have a batter that is off a soft drop consistency, kinda like buttercream. Use more milk if necessary to loosen mixture. You definitely don't want a pourable batter though!
Once correct consistency is reached, your fruit will likely be ready. Spoon fruit into your oven proof dish. Do not add all the liquid, you want the fruit to be a little wet, but not swimming in liquid. (Reserve the extra liquid to use as a berry sauce when serving!) Working as quickly as possible, spoon sponge batter over the fruit mixture in the dish and spread out. It's easiest if you drop spoonfuls around the edge of the dish first and work your way in. Don't fret if the batter starts to melt, it will come together in the end.
Lastly, sprinkle over the almonds and place dish in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the sponge is golden and springs back when lightly touched.
Serve warm with cream, vanilla custard or ice cream.