Fill your bowl to the brim with this gingerbread pudding with poached pear and vanilla cream.
This is a dessert that has comfort food as its default position. It obviously comes from European technique but it also incorporates flavours you’d find in Asia.
• 250g caster sugar
• 8 pieces stem ginger in syrup, drained
• 75g butter
• 60g dark muscovado sugar
• 200g golden syrup
• 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 125ml milk
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 80 ml warm water
• 150g plain flour
For the poached pears:
• 230g brown sugar
• 60ml lemon juice
• 3 beurre bosc pears, peeled, halved and cored
For the vanilla cream:
• 2 egg yolks
• 3 tablespoons caster sugar
• 2 teaspoons cornflour
• 2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
• 250ml milk
• 250ml pouring cream
1 For the poached pears, combine 750 ml water, the sugar and lemon juice in a stainless steel saucepan over low heat.
2 Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and place a round of greaseproof (waxed) paper on the surface of the poaching liquid to keep the pears submerged. Simmer very gently for 10–12 minutes or until the pears are tender. Remove from the heat and leave the pears to cool in the syrup.
3 To make the vanilla cream, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla seeds until smooth and well combined.
4 In a small stainless steel saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Whisk one-third of the hot milk into the egg mixture to ‘temper’ or stabilise it, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the milk, whisking constantly until the custard has thickened.
5 Pour it into a bowl and lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool. When ready to use the vanilla cream, take 190 ml of the vanilla cream from the refrigerator and whisk it well to break down any lumps.
6 In another bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks and fold it into the vanilla cream. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
7 Preheat the oven to 170°C.
8 In a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, melt the caster sugar until it is a golden caramel, then spread 2 tablespoons of this toffee into each of six 12 cm, lined, heavy-based baking dishes. Alternatively, use one 2 cm ceramic baking dish. Let the caramel set hard.
9 Slice each poached pear half into 4 wedges. Cut the stem ginger into thin slices.
10 Distribute the pear and ginger slices evenly on top of the set caramel.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, muscovado sugar, golden syrup, fresh ginger and cinnamon.
11 Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and bicarbonate of soda, followed by the cooled butter mixture.
12 Put the flour in a large bowl and whisk in the wet ingredients until well combined. Pour 80 ml of this gingerbread mixture evenly over the ginger and pear in the lined pans. 13 Bake for 20–22 minutes until just cooked. Serve with the vanilla cream.
Recipe courtesy of Andrew McConnell., extracted from Supernormal