Tansies originally always included the bitter-sweet herb called tansy, which still lends its name to many custard and omelette-type puddings. This sweet/tart combination with Cox's apples traditionally used the witherslack damsons which grow south of Lake Windermere.
2 large Cox's apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
225 g (8 oz) damsons, halved, stoned and quartered
15 g (1/2 oz) butter
40 g (1 1/2 oz) sugar
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
45 ml (3 tbsp) fresh soured cream or natural yogurt
1. Put the apples, damsons, butter and half of the sugar in a large frying pan.
2. Cook over a gentle heat, until the fruit is softened, stirring continuously. Stir in the cloves and cinnamon, then remove from the heat.
3. Beat the egg yolks with the cream and stir into the fruit. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then carefully fold in.
4. Cook over a low heat until the mixture has set. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar, then brown under a hot grill.
Serve immediately, straight from the pan, with soured cream or natural yogurt.
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