A Tale Of Port And Puddings
A Match Made In Heaven
Serving Port with pudding is a longstanding and warmly embraced tradition at Taylor’s.
And little wonder. A gloriously indulgent pudding paired with just the right Port wine must surely be one of life’s greatest pleasures.
From the luscious berry fruits of a full-bodied Late Bottled Vintage to the mellow, nutty, butterscotch of an Aged Tawny, the wonderfully diverse styles and flavours of Port wine offer endless possibilities for pairing with all kinds of puddings. And what a delight it is to try them all!
The Serious Business Of Pudding
Nowhere is the tradition more keenly observed than at Quinta de Vargellas, the flagship estate: puddings are revered and Port wine is always served. Successive cooks have risen to the challenge with gusto, applying their skill and imagination to producing mouth-watering creations which perfectly enhance the enjoyment of how to serve Taylor's Port.
Their current cook conjures up a spectacular variety of magnificent puddings, often using the local produce of the Douro Valley.
The chef's signature puddings are not for the faint of heart! Seasoned guests know to work up an appetite by walking up the steep path to the top of the estate, jogging several laps of the quinta’s orchard, or during harvest time, perhaps treading vigorously in the lagar.
Favourite puddings such as Poached Pear and Port Wine Dessert with Taylor’s Select or Fine Ruby Estate Port, Chocolate Tart with Late Bottled Vintage, Crème Brulée with 10 Year Old Tawny, or Baked Peaches in Port with a glass of 20 Year Old Tawny are served in the quinta’s dining room. In warm weather, guests gather round the glass-topped table on the terrace enjoying breath-taking views across the Douro Valley, and occasionally sharing their pudding with a passing wasp.
A Little Culinary Espionage
In fact, a perfectly paired pudding and Port wine has even been known to inspire a little culinary espionage amongst Vargellas’ guests. When a very distinguished French chef stayed, a simple but heavenly creation made with fresh figs picked from the orchard – was served to him to accompany a Taylor’s 20 Year Old. The chef was later found in the kitchen determined to discover the secret to the dish’s deliciousness! And who can blame him? The simplest combinations are often the most successful.
A famous restaurant came up with the idea of serving a Taylor’s 20 Year Old with nothing more elaborate than a plate of wild strawberries. We hope that you might be able to come up with some of your own combinations, too…
A Final Challenge
Finally, at the end of the evening, there’s an unexpected challenge for guests who have left just enough room for cheese – which is served with quince jelly and Vintage Port. The chef's celebrated crunchy tart made from almonds grown on the estate is served as a supremely indulgent post-pudding treat to ensure that any last drops of Port wine are never quaffed unaccompanied. Few can resist.
Pudding Recipes: Family Favourites
There is no espionage required however, as we have decided to share with you two of the Taylor's family’s favourite pudding recipes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Baked Peaches In Port
4 slightly under ripe fresh peaches
80g chopped and lightly toasted almonds
25g brown sugar
200ml single cream
200ml Taylor’s 10 Year Old Tawny or Fine Tawny
Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Slice peaches into halves and remove stones. Place halves, hole-side up, in shallow baking dish. Cream together butter and sugar and add chopped almonds. Divide into 8 batches. Place each batch into hole of peach half. Pour cream and Tawny Port around peaches, taking care not to overfill. The liquid should come about half way up the peach halves.
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top. Take care the almond mixture does not burn!
Serve with lashings of double cream or vanilla ice-cream, and a glass of Taylor’s 20 Year Old Tawny.
Pear And Port Wine Tart
300g puff pastry
6 pears, peeled
350ml Taylor’s Select Port or First Estate Ruby Port
250g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
2 free-range egg yolks
150g melted butter
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Bring Port and sugar to boil in a saucepan, then add pears and cook for 20 minutes on a medium/low heat.
In a bowl, mix butter, ground almonds and egg yolks thoroughly. Roll out pastry and place in a 20cm pre-buttered tart dish with a removable base. Spoon in the almond and butter mix and cook in oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the pears from the Port, cut in half and remove pips. Place pears on top of tart and cook in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Serve warm or chilled with a glass of Taylor’s Select Port, First Estate Ruby Port, or LBV.