Saturday, 5 November 2011

At Home: Sticky Toffee Ginger Pud

Proper puds don't come more sublime and decadent than this pimped up gingerbread. When the dark veil of winter descends, I kid myself that my body expends lots more energy to keep itself warm, therefore making gluttony and excess entirely reasonable. Bring it on.

I had friends over for weekend lunch, and a three course meal to prepare. Fortuitously, half a loaf of sticky and fragrant gingerbread I'd made mid-week was happily maturing on the kitchen surface. Job done - a pretty-much instant pud. All I needed was good quality vanilla ice cream (bought), and a speedy butterscotch sauce. You can find recipes for both the gingerbread and butterscotch sauce below (though you could cheat with bought versions of all three components), and all I'd add is:
  • Slice the gingerbread thickly, and give it 10 seconds in the microwave before constructing.
  • Construct at the last moment, heating your sauce in the microwave/on the hob to loosen it to pouring consistency, if it has cooled.
This gingerbread recipe comes courtesy of Nigella's glorious How To Eat. Do wrap it up and keep it for a day or two before eating. It's worth the wait.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 60-90 minutes

230g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
110g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
110g black treacle
110g golden syrup
110g light/dark muscovado sugar
280ml full-fat milk
45g stem ginger (drain off syrup and grate)
1 large egg, beaten

Grease a 900g loaf tin (23cm x 11cm, 6cm), and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C/Gas 4.

Sift the flour, bicarb, and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

In a small saucepan, melt the treacle with the syrup, then leave to cool to blood temperature. Meanwhile, in another pan, dissolve the sugar in the milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally.

Add the grated stem ginger to the flour mixture. Then whisk/beat the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and next whisk in the treacle mixture, followed by the egg. When thoroughly blended, the mixture should be a thin batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1-1 1/4 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Start checking after 45 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin, then turn out and wrap first in greaseproof paper and then foil.

This could not be easier to make, and gives Cartmel toffee sauce a run for it's money. Adding a little salt really peps it up.

Prep: none
Cook: 10-15 minutes

55g unsalted butter
140g golden syrup
115ml double cream
125g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a small pinch of sea salt

Put all the ingredients in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Pour into a jug for serving. It will thicken when cool, and simply needs reheating to reach pouring consistency again.

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