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A little cheese and a little whine

Ginger desert recipes

Pear tart with ginger ice cream

The pears were peeled and poached very gently for about two hours in 250ml red wine, 250g sugar and a cinnamon stick, topped up with water to keep the pears covered. Then we sliced each into six and removed any seeds and the hard core. The liquid was reduced to about 150ml and used as a garnish.

The tart was made with pate sable made to this recipe and frangipane made by creaming 125g of butter with 125g sugar, slowly adding two eggs, and then mixing in 125g ground almonds and 1 tablespoon of plain flour. The assembled tart was baked at 180 degrees (C) for about 50 minutes, until the frangipane was golden brown.

The ice cream was made by blending 150g of stem ginger (the sort that comes in syrup in a jar) into 500ml of custard made with 250ml milk, 250ml double cream, 3 egg yolks, 1 heaped teaspoon of cornflour, and 60ml of the syrup from the stem ginger.

The pyramid shape for the ice cream was accomplished by letting it soften slightly and then piping it into cream horn moulds which were then refreezed. To stop the ice-cream spilling out, we pushed them through the top of an old cardboard egg carton. After refreezing. holding the mould in hand-hot water for about six seconds and then running a knife around the top allowed the ice cream to fall from the mould quite easily. Once moulded, the ice cream can be refrozen until needed, although it can stick to the container and need a little gently handling to get it to the plate without damage.

Ginger eclairs

These were standard choux buns filled with creme patisserie blended with stem ginger (100g ginger to 250ml of creme patisserie). The chocolate topping was made by melting five parts chocolate with one part butter.

Beware that the blended creme is quite lumpy; you will probably have quite big chunks of ginger even after quite a bit of blending. This can make it hard to get through a piping nozzle when you’re filling the eclairs. Err on the side of a wider nozzle.

Sponge, ganache and mousse

This was a very simple one with a layer of chocolate sponge, a layer of ganache and a layer of mousse. There was about 50g of glace ginger added to the ganache (made with about 350g chocolate and 250ml cream). The whole confection was topped with a thin slice of stem ginger.

Apricot and ginger tarts

These were small tarts made with pate sable and filled with a chutney made from 250g dried apricots, two tablespoons ginger puree, 50g raisins, 50g sugar and 25ml rum. The sugar was carmelised very slightly at the start of the process, and the mixture was simmered with one star anise and one cinnamon stick for the first couple of hours of cooking. It was simmered for about six hours in total, keeping the mix topped up with water, before reducing it to a jam-like consistency. The tarts were topped with whipped cream – 150ml double cream spiked with about 20ml whiskey.

I used organic apricots for this one which didn’t taste particularly of apricot; I think it would have been better with the standard kind. The pate sable was baked blind for 15 minutes at 180 degrees C. If you try this, and use baking beans, put a little greaseproof paper in the bottom of the tart – otherwise the beans embed themselves in the pastry, and can be difficult to remove.

Lime and ginger cheesecake

The biscuit base for this was made with 225g ginger nuts and 115g butter. The cheesecake was made by blending 300g cream cheese with the juice of two limes, 150g stem ginger and 60ml of the syrup from the stem ginger, then folding in 250ml of whipped double cream. The mixture looks very sloppy when first mixed but firms up nicely when chilled.

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The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
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A Wolf at the Table
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