My mother-in-law, Dorothy, has been living with us for almost two years. She will be 94 at the end of November and is physically quite well, if not very mobile but her memory is poor. At first it was just her short-term memory and we have learned to live with the fact that she does not retain information for more than a minute. Her long-term memory, though, was pretty sharp until a few months ago. She loved to talk about her childhood in Devon, her experiences in the second world war and her years in Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia) with her young family.
The memories began to be muddled, so I made albums of her photographs, letters and newspaper clippings with clear labels of the names of people and places but I saw recently that she has crossed out some of my labels and written new, incorrect ones. I find it rather sad to think that such a long life can be fading into an inaccurate blur but she seems to be quite happy with her misremembered stories.
Dorothy was never a good cook but she had a passion for traditional Devonshire food as made by her grandmother and great aunt. She learned how to make Devonshire clotted cream so that she could have a regular supply in Africa with her other culinary success, Devonshire Apple In and Out. She would never give anyone the recipe for this and now she has forgotten it but I found it in a book of traditional Devonshire recipes and decided to make some to stir her fading memories.
It is a very simple pudding, originally made with suet and steamed for an hour or more but I adapted it to bake as a sponge pudding and it worked very well.
Devonshire Apple In and Out
Rub the fat into the flour then add the sugar and beat in the egg. Peel the apples and slice them directly into the mixture in a buttered pudding dish.
(If using suet, steam in a greased basin for 1hr 15mins.)
I used butter and brown sugar in mine and this is how it turned out:
In, out, gone.