The Pudding Stop is a St Albans favourite, especially for anyone who uses the train station. The van by platform 4 is a welcome home to tired commuters, and I am sure many of you have bought puds at the end of a hectic week.
This month sees the launch of Johnny’s book Puddings, so now we can all try to make our favourites or send a copy to people who don’t live close enough to buy the best puds in the country. I love the fact that Johnny has dedicated his book to: “every St Albans commuter who has ever stopped by the Pudmobile. Without you The Pudding Stop would not be where it is today, and that means more than I could ever explain.”
After appearing on Radio 4, Johnny was asked to write his book, bringing together all his favourite pudding recipes. There are over 100, including all of his bestsellers, such as Bakewell Tart, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Flourless Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Brownies. Look out for Verulam Pudding which mentions the origination of the hot cross bun from St Albans, and Rose’s Madeleines, included for Johnny’s new daughter Rose Madeleine. The chapters are arranged into Sticky, Crumbly, Creamy, Fruity, Chocolate and Festive, which works well. There is also a section of things to go with your puds, such as custard and caramel sauce. It took a couple of years to write the book, and the background intros to each pud make interesting reading. You can hear Johnny’s voice, and he mentions life in the shop and some of the regular customers.
I am sure you all know about The Pudding Stop shop by now, tucked away on Verulam Road. Open all day, they do great coffee and open late into the evening so you can go for pud after dinner elsewhere. There is a shelf of Puddings in the shop, so you buy a copy there (£20), and I am sure Johnny will sign it for you if he is behind the counter (they are in the local Waterstones too). You can also buy a pud to take home to eat while you read the book.
A huge favourite at the van and the shop. The MOST important thing is that you do not over-bake your brownies. You can substitute the flour for brown rice flour to make the brownies gluten-free, if you like.
300g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
300g caster sugar
200g dark brown muscovado sugar
120g plain flour
80g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and line a 35 x 25 x 5cm baking tin with baking parchment.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the chocolate.
- Whisk the eggs with the sugars in a bowl, then add them to the chocolate mix.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the pan and stir in the salt.
- Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool, or leave for 10–15 minutes before serving warm with vanilla ice cream.
Puddings, Johnny Shepherd, Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in hardback at £20, eBook: £10.99