Tag Archives: golden syrup

INDIVIDUAL LEMON AND GINGER SYRUP SPONGES

Lemon ginger syrup sponge

Steamed puddings don’t have to be stodgy, heavy, suet based things. These little beauties are soft, light and fluffy. They are also wonderfully comforting on cold winter nights. The chopped ginger sinks down through the batter to mingle with the syrup and create a glorious sticky sweet topping for the soft golden sponge. You can make this as one bigger sponge if you prefer but bear in mind it will take longer cook.
I’d actually forgotten what a great ingredient golden syrup is. You can get it here but it’s very expensive compared to back home, thankfully my brother brought me some from back home on a recent visit. It was in the classic green Lyle’s tin too, which I suspect may have never changed, still embellished with the words “out of the strong came forth sweetness.” I can’t imagine many companies today thinking that putting the image of a bee’s nest and lion carcass on their product is a good marketing idea! The tin is something that could always be found in my Grandmas kitchen cupboards and I’m pretty certain that if I checked my mums larder there’d be a tin in there too. I can definitely remember eating slices of her fresh homemade bread with butter and golden syrup. Delicious.

Lemon ginger syrup sponge

Ingredients
makes 4

120g butter
50g soft brown sugar
50g white sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
120g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped crystalized ginger
splash of milk
4 tbsp golden syrup

Lemon ginger syrup sponge

Butter the mini pudding basins really well and drop a tablespoon of golden syrup into the bottom of each one, add a squeeze of lemon juice too. Set these aside whilst you make the sponge batter.
Beat together the butter, sugars and salt until they are fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the lemon zest and remaining juice and beat again. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold it all together. Finally mix through the chopped ginger and a splash of milk if the batter is too stiff (it should have nice soft dropping consistency.)
Divide the sponge batter evenly between the mini pudding basins and top with a piece of greaseproof paper. Cover the top of each basin with a piece of tin foil, folded with a pleat in the middle. Tie this around the rim of the basin with a piece of string. The pleat allows for the sponge to rise.
Put the puddings in a steamer over a large pan of boiling water and steam for 30 minutes. Once they are cooked remove the foil and paper lids and invert them into bowls ready to serve with cream, custard or ice cream (and maybe a blanket). Just be sure to scrape all of the yummy ginger syrup out of the molds, you don’t want to waste it!

Lemon ginger syrup sponge

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TREACLE STARS

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Treacle tart is one of my friends favourites and I made these when she came to stay recently.
I think it’s probably fairly unique to Great Britain but for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a little like Canadian butter tart or pecan pie without the nuts.
There are a few different ways of making it, some recipes just use breadcrumbs, butter, lemon and syrup for the filling. Others cut the breadcrumbs with ground almonds and some, like mine use eggs to lighten the mixture.
I’ve opted for the lighter filling because these little tarts are quite deep, a full size tart would have a thinner layer of filling, in which case I think I would have used the more basic mixture.
White breadcrumbs work best and it’s all the better if the bread is a little stale, it’ll be more effective at helping to soak up the liquid ingredients.
I think it goes without saying that this dessert can be tooth-achingly sweet so it’s best served with a dollop of (clotted) cream to provide some freshness to cut through the stickiness.

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Ingredients
makes 6 individual tarts

shortcrust pastry
150g plain flour
70g butter
1 egg yolk
splash of water (optional)

filling
130g golden syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp cream
35g white breadcrumbs

you’ll also need an extra egg

Start by making the pastry. Gently rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Lightly beat the egg yolk and use this to bring the dough together, if you need to, add a tiny splash of water too.
Once you have a nice ball of dough, flatten it a little, wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and lightly grease your chosen baking tins.

Gently roll out the dough so that it’s about 3mm thick and then use this to line your pie tins. Be sure to press the dough into all the crevasses of the tins. Prick the bases with a fork, cover them with grease-proof paper and fill them with baking beans.
Pop these in the oven for 20 minutes to blind bake. Next you need to lightly beat the extra egg listed in the ingredients. Remove the beans from the pastry cases and lightly brush the insides with the beaten egg. This will help keep the pastry crisp when you add the filling later. Keep any remaining egg for the filling. Put the pastry back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until it’s baked through and lovely and crisp.

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To make the filling all you need to do is melt together the butter, lemon (zest and juice) and syrup before whisking in the cream and remaining egg from baking the pastry cases. Finally stir in the breadcrumbs. These should absorb at least 90% of the liquid.
Spoon the filling into the cases and then bake the tiny tarts at 190°c for 30 minutes. If it looks like the edges of your pastry are going to get too brown then simply cover them over with a piece of foil. Once the tarts are cooked they should have a slightly crackled surface and be beautifully golden.
You can leave them to cool completely or serve them slightly warm (my preference) with cream, ice cream or custard.

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SPICED CHOCOLATE CAKE

Mr Colonial Cravings has requested a cake. He often does. This one is for an afternoon of seasonal festivities at work so who am I to deny him?

Spiced chocolate cake

I’ve decided to stay away from exclusively British treats and go for something with more universal appeal. Chocolate.
To turn a bog standard chocolate cake into something a bit more festive I’ve decided to give it lots of warming, wintry, spicy flavours and a slightly more dense, moist, almost sticky texture. I was aiming for a chocolate version of Jamaican ginger cake.
I’ve made it in a similar way to brownies, melting the wet ingredients together and then adding in the dry ingredients. Using brown sugar rather refined white sugar really helps with the texture and complements the spices well. The little nuggets of crystalised ginger are so much nicer than simply using ground ginger.
The rum is optional, I didn’t include it in the version for my husbands work (obviously) and just added a tablespoon of water after mixing in the dry ingredients.
You don’t have use a bundt tin for this. I’ve also baked it using diddy little pudding basins, reducing the cooking time to 25 minutes.

Spiced chocolate cake

Ingredients

Sponge
175g butter (plus extra for greasing)
100g dark chocolate (chopped)
100g dark soft brown sugar
100g light soft brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp rum (optional)
4 eggs
60g crystalised ginger
25g cocoa powder
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
pinch of seasalt

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Ganache
100g good quality dark chocolate
100g double cream
small knob of butter
1 tbsp rum (optional)

icing sugar/festive sprinkles to decorate

Pre-heat your oven to 160°c.
Melt the butter, along with a little extra in a large saucepan. Brush the inside of your bundt tin really thoroughly with some of this.
Add the chocolate, both sugars, syrup and the rum (if using) to the butter and melt together over a very low heat. Once it’s all amalgamated set it to one side to cool a little.
Finely chop the ginger and stir this and the salt through the mixture.
Beat the eggs and then mix them into the cooled chocolate mix. Make sure it’s all really well combined.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Stir through the ground spices.
Add the dry ingredients, in two batches, to the wet ingredients, mixing it together really well.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for around about 1 hour. Check that it is cooked all the way through by poking a skewer into the cake and ensuring that it comes out clean.
Once baked, leave the cake in the tin to cool for a bit before turning it out onto a wire rack. I find this helps to encourage it to leave all the little nooks and crannies of the bundt tin cleanly.

Spiced chocolate cake

To make the ganache simply melt together the chocolate and cream (and rum, if using) over the lowest heat possible in a small saucepan. Once melted beat through a small amount of butter, this will give it a nice glossy finish. Let this cool and thicken up a bit before pouring over the top of the cake and sprinkling on any additional decoration.

I may never make a traditional Christmas cake again!

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CORNISH FAIRINGS

It is Mr Colonial Cravings turn to provide his contribution to his offices ‘cookie-club’. Obviously when I say it is his turn I mean that it is my turn, and I don’t mind in the slightest. Any excuse for a big batch of biscuit making.

It appears that come October everything that you consume in the USA, in any form, is obliged to be flavoured with something mysteriously known only as pumpkin spice. Coffee, cakes, biscuits, candles and even lip balm! I’ve decided to buck the trend slightly with my own spicy offerings – Cornish Fairings.

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Whilst this is a taste of home it’s not actually something that I ever eat when I’m back in Cornwall. This is probably largely due to them generally being mass produced and packed in Emmett-friendly boxes embellished with pictures of St Ives. (Emmett, for the un-initiated amongst you, is the Cornish equivalent of the word Muggle. It means non-Cornish folk.)
The recipe calls for golden syrup, which isn’t impossible to find in the USA but is very expensive compared to the price in the UK. Because I only need a couple of table spoons I made my own, which isn’t hard but is a bit of a faff and takes some of the spontaneity out of biscuit making.

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Fairings are a lovey thing to make at this time of year, just working with the sweetly spiced soft dough should be enough to lift your spirits on a gloomy day. Soft and chewy whilst warm these become crisp and crunchy once they’ve cooled and will keep pretty well in an airtight container. They would make a nice little gift at Christmas – wrapped in waxed paper and ribbon, without a picture postcard in sight!

Ingredients
Makes 20-30

175g plain flour
50g soft light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp lemon juice

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Pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Sift the flour with the raising agents. Add in the spices and the sugars and use a whisk to mix it all together well.
Using a small pan gently melt together the butter, syrup and lemon juice. Don’t let it get too hot, you don’t want to burn the sugars in the syrup.

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Carefully pour this into the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon, resulting in a wonderfully soft warm dough.
Pull off small chunks of dough and gently roll them into little nuggets, placing them onto a lined baking sheet. Make sure that they are spaced well apart as they will spread a tad. Squish each one a little with a knife, don’t worry if the edges crack.

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Bake for 10 minutes, by which time they should be golden brown and your kitchen should smell amazing.
Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely and become crisp.
Now pop the kettle on because these are perfect for dunking….

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I feel that I should confess to eating at least five of these whilst writing this post, but that’s just between us…

 

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