Pear and Aber Falls Gingerbread Liqueur Sticky Toffee Pudding
The Gingerbread Gin Liqueur poached pears standing proud in this sticky toffee pudding make it an impactful Sunday, or special occasion dessert. Try serving it with a chilled measure of Gingerbread Gin Liqueur served alongside.
Serves 6 generously
For the pears
6 pears, peeled
200ml Aber Falls Gingerbread Gin Liqueur
200g caster sugar
Pared peel of 1 unwaxed lemon
Pared peel of 1 unwaxed orange
4 cardamom pods
For the pudding
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g stoned dates, roughly chopped
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp vanilla extract
100ml Aber Falls Gingerbread Gin Liqueur
225g soft light brown sugar
4 medium eggs
225g plain flour
50g walnuts toasted and roughly chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
For the toffee sauce
150g soft light brown sugar
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp black treacle
225ml double cream
Use a small, sharp knife or melon baller to remove the pips from the pears through the base of each fruit. Nestle the pears snuggle in a saucepan. Pour over the Gingerbread Gin Liqueur and sugar. Top with 400ml of water and submerge the citrus peels and cardamom into the liquid. Cut a piece of parchment to fit snugly over the pears and tuck inside the lip of the saucepan. Bring the liquid to the boil, then simmer very gently for 10 minutes, or until the sugar is totally dissolved. Allow the pears to cool completely in the liquid. You can poach the pears up to three days in advance, and keep them covered in their poaching liquid in an airtight container in the fridge before making the rest of the pudding.
Use butter to grease a deep, rectangular baking tin (roughly 30 x 20cm) and line with baking parchment. Tip the dates into a heatproof bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and vanilla, then pour over the liqueur, and 200ml just boiled water from the kettle. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Tip the dates and all of their soaking liquid into a food processor. Pulse a few times to roughly chop the dates, then scoop out half into a bowl. Blitz the remaining date mixture to a smooth puree and pour into the bowl with the chopped dates. Stir to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and whisk to incorporate fully between each additional egg. Fold through the flour, walnuts, baking powder, spices, date mixture and a large pinch of salt (we used Halen Môn Smoked Salt). Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then lift the pears out their liquid and lower into the batter, stalks pointing up and spacing them evenly around the tin. Level the surface of the batter with a spatula (taking care around the pears) and bake for 30 minutes, until just set and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Any extra poaching liquid can be used to poach other fruits, such as plums or figs.
While the pudding bakes, make the sauce. Add the sugar, butter and treacle to a small saucepan and warm over a medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Bubble for a few minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour in the cream and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is dark and thick. When the pudding has 8 minutes left in the oven, remove it and pour over ½ of the toffee sauce. Return it the oven for the final 8 minutes, then leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving with cream or ice cream and the remaining sauce in a jug for pouring over at the table.