Steamed pudding with prunes and pomegranate

Serves 4

For the sponge

100g/31/2oz unsalted butter, plus a little extra to grease the pudding moulds
100g/31/2oz caster sugar
2 eggs
100g/31/2oz self-raising flour
The zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
2 knobs of stem ginger, finely chopped
A little pinch of salt
3 tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry or marsala wine
12 plump, soft prunes
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 pomegranate, seeds only

Pour the sherry into a small saucepan and gently warm through. Remove the stones from the prunes and chop roughly. Sprinkle over the sugar and pour over the warm alcohol. Set aside to macerate. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4 and butter four pudding basins.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift the flour and fold in gently. Finally, add the lemon zest, ginger and salt.

Remove the pomegranate seeds from its skin, stir into the prunes and spoon the mixture into each pudding mould, dividing evenly between them.

Now pour the sponge mixture on top. Cover each pudding basin loosely with a little buttered foil and stand each pudding on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes until well risen and cooked through.

To test, insert a skewer through the centre; it should come out clean. Run a small knife around each pudding and turn out on to a warm plate. Serve with thick cream.

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