Gingerbread pudding with salted caramel sauce & ginger fruit compote

Bloody hell this is good - moist gingery, cakey pudding topped with hot salted caramel sauce and with a luscious ginger fruit compote and generous scoop of mascarpone on the side (although if you can't always be faffed with the compote, it won't be the end of the world). I originally put this recipe together for my friends at Dish magazine, and thought it would be a good one to share for this rainy weekend, with the first Bledisloe Cup game on tonight - I can't wait. I'm such a Kiwi chick, I do love watching a bit of rugby, and I'm particularly excited to watch tonight's game as I'm heading over to Waiheke to stay with some dear friends - cue whisky, fire, rugby and non-stop laughter - hurrah. Then tomorrow I have the opportunity to tramp around my beloved island along the beaches and tracks...and come hell or high-water (or rain or full-tide) I'm doing it - rain jacket and cap are packed.

Hmm - so what else is news? I am counting down the days until I can share some of my cookbook with you, I'm so tempted to do it now, but don't want to spill the beans too early! I have had a full-on week with a night at the play The Pickle King at the Q Theatre with some gorgeous girlfriends (bloody hilarious and clever, both the play and the friends), drinks out with some great mates on Thursday night (oh my God, I can't drink like I used to...) and an absolutely delicious dinner at Farang in Kingsland last night with some lovely like-minded foodies. I have to say, if you're ever feeling a bit dusty Farang's Thai food is the solution...those sticky pork belly buns and flaky roti with peanut sauce must be the ultimate hangover cure :) So now it's time to get busy (and back to work) before I escape to Waiheke tonight...can't wait!

PS. Just discovered one of the dogs has done a big wee on my bed...yes indeed a night off without them is just what the doctor ordered!!!



Ginger fruit compote:
12 dried figs, stalks removed
1 cup prunes
12 dried pears halves
1 cup golden raisins
3 cups apple cider
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 thumb ginger, peeled and sliced lengthways
400grams mascarpone to serve

Halve the figs, prunes and pear halves. Put the apple cider in a saucepan with the sugar, golden syrup and ground ginger. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Add the ginger slices, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, add the dried fruit and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow fruit to cool in the syrup. (The slices of ginger can be removed before serving if desired as they are for flavouring, not for eating).

Salted caramel ginger sauce:
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 ¼ cups cream
2 tablespoon butter
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
Put the caster sugar in a clean pot with 1/3 cup of water and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, whisking to dissolve the sugar then don’t stir again. Heat the cream separately until just hot, not boiling (either in the microwave or another pot is fine). Use a small pastry brush to wipe down any excess sugar from the sides of the saucepan and continue heating until the sugar first becomes white and crystallised, then starts to turn a light amber. To combine the sugar and encourage even caramelisation, give the pot a gentle swirl. As soon as it is an even light golden, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the hot cream ¼ cup at a time. It will froth up madly, but keep whisking and it will settle down. Add the butter and sea salt and whisk until smooth. Pour into a clean jar and store in the fridge until ready to use. Reheat by microwaving briefly or on the stove top. Makes about 1 ½  cups.

Gingerbread:
120grams softened butter
1 cup golden syrup
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ cup self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 170˚C and grease and line a 25cm x 31cm deep baking dish (I used a roasting pan) with baking paper. Heat the butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Sift the flours, baking soda and spices into a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk together then add with the butter and golden syrup to the dry ingredients. Fold all together and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes or until the middle bounces back when lightly pressed. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out. Slice into 12-16 pieces to serve, drizzled in salted caramel sauce, with a scoop of mascarpone and ginger fruit compote on the side.

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