Syrup Pudding with Ginger & Orange

Serves 4 to 6. Recipe is reprinted with permission from “Home Made Christmas” by Yvette van Boven. The author writes, “Pudding is an Anglo-Saxon term referring to steamed or cooked cake. You could also call it a poached cake. Syrup pudding is a rather light, sweet cake, a bit sticky as well. I regularly make this cake for winter dinners with lots of ginger and orange. Nothing beats eating it straight from the bowl while it’s still warm and covered in cold unsweetened cream. It’s an unbelievably easy-to-make Christmas dessert. If you put it in the oven just before dinnertime, you’ll have more than enough time to leisurely eat several courses before serving your steaming pudding.”

¼ cup golden syrup or apple syrup, plus more for serving

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Heaping ¼ cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Zest and juice of ½ orange

Heavy cream or crème anglaise, for serving

Also needed: 1 (½-liter) pudding mold, or a deep ovenproof bowl with a volume of about 2 cups (a Pyrex measuring cup would be perfect).

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place a container (a deep baking pan or other ovenproof container that will comfortably fit your pudding mold later on) on a rack just below the middle position in the oven and fill with hot water until it’s two-thirds full. Grease a ½-liter pudding mold (or an ovenproof bowl) with soft butter and pour the syrup into the bottom.

2. Using a whisk, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

3. Beat the butter and brown sugar until soft and fluffy. Beat the eggs, vanilla, ground ginger, fresh ginger and orange zest and juice together, then while beating, pour into the butter and sugar mixture. Fold in the flour mixture. Pour the batter over the syrup in the mold.

4. Fold a 1-inch pleat into the center of a piece of parchment paper so the pudding has room to expand, then cover the top of the mold with the parchment. Arrange two long sheets of foil in a cross pattern on the counter top, place the mold in the center, and wrap the foil up over the top of the parchment-covered mold and press to thoroughly seal the mold in the foil.

5. Place the wrapped pudding inside the container of hot water in the oven — the water should come halfway up the side of the mold. Bake for 2 hours, until the cake is nicely risen.

6. Remove all the foil and parchment and slide a shape knife between the edge of the mold and the cake, so it will come out easily. The top will be a bit sticky, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Invert onto a nice serving plate and serve with some cream or crème anglaise and drizzle some extra golden syrup on top. And perhaps something fresh, such as homemade apple compote.