Winter warmer: Pear and ginger sticky pudding
Delicious fruit and spice treat to ward off cold of November
Is there anything better than a properly warming pudding on a cold day? This ginger and pear sticky pudding fits the bill perfectly. The ginger and mixed spice hits just the right note to cut through the blustery chill of late autumn.
To make this pudding with fresh pears, look for fruit that is ripe, but not too soft. A rock hard unripe pear won’t soften enough while the pudding is cooking. If you don’t happen to be baking during that 15-minute window of perfect ripeness, tinned pears work just fine here.
I bake these in dariole moulds, but the moulds are not essential. You could use well-buttered ramekins, or even muffin tins. The pudding mixture will probably fill six to eight muffin hollows and the cooking time will be a little shorter. The smaller size would be just right for those with smaller appetites, or add some poached pear on the side to make the puddings go a bit further.
The ginger can be dialled up even further by folding a few chopped pieces of preserved stem ginger into the pudding mixture. Alternatively, you might want to add some ginger syrup from the jar to the sauce mixture.
This is a brilliant pudding either for a dinner party when you want to get ahead, or to take to friends or family. Both the moreish sticky sauce and puddings can be made the day before and reheated before serving. Add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to puddle slowly into the warm butterscotch sauce. Alternatively, serve with a splash of heavy cream and they’ll still taste divine.
If you have difficulty buying light muscovado sugar, use soft brown sugar. Adding a little treacle to the butterscotch sauce, if you wish to, darkens it and gives a luxuriously rich effect. The recipe also makes a lovely cake.
PEAR AND GINGER STICKY PUDDINGS
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
150g butter (plus extra for greasing)
125g light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
2 eggs, lightly whisked
4 ripe pear halves, skinned, deseeded (or tinned pear)
For the sauce:
100g light muscovado sugar
To serve: vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
1. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees fan, or equivalent. Grease six dariole moulds (approx 175ml each) well with butter.
2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and mixed spice.
3. In a medium-size saucepan, over a medium heat, melt the butter, sugar and treacle together.
4. Once combined, remove from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the milk to cool the mixture slightly.
5. Whisk in the eggs.
6. Add the sieved ingredients directly into the saucepan. Stir well to combine to a smooth batter.
7. Spoon the mixture evenly between the dariole moulds. Cut each pear half into three slices to fit the dariole moulds (if using tinned pears pat them dry with kitchen paper to remove excess moisture). Push a few pear slices right into the mixture.
8. Place the dariole moulds on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until risen and firm. Remove the puddings from the oven. Leave in the tins for a few mins, then loosen them well from the sides of the tins with a small knife before turning them out.
9. For the sauce, heat the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved fully. Add the cream, then turn up the heat and let the sauce bubble for two minutes, until thick. Pour into a bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
10. Serve the puddings warm with the heated sauce and vanilla ice-cream (or freshly whipped cream).
Variation: Serve with toasted chopped pecan nuts sprinkled over the puddings.