Some of the oldies are still goodies but it’s always fun to experiment with the new. I love old-fashioned gateaux but often they don’t appeal to the younger set. Hence, Molly Woppy’s gingerbread men recently came to the rescue as a garnish, turning a grown-ups’ cake into something more family-friendly. Walnuts could replace the pecans and canned pears the fresh pears. An excellent cake for a family gathering.
|4||Pears, ripe and firm (Main)|
|1 tsp||Gelatine, powdered|
|1 tsp||Instant coffee|
|2 Tbsp||Water, cold|
|1 ½ cups||Cream|
|½ cup||Icing sugar|
|200 g||Sponge fingers, e.g Unibic|
|½ cup||Pecans, finely chopped|
|½ cup||Crystalised ginger, chopped|
|4||Ginger biscuits, I used Molly Woppy small gingerbread men|
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- Peel, quarter and core the pears. Bring the water and sugar to the boil. Add the pears and poach, until just tender. Cool. Slice each quarter in half.
- Line a 21cm x 12cm loaf pan with plastic film.
- Soak the gelatine and coffee granules in the cold water for 5 minutes. Dissolve on low heat then allow to cool.
- Whip the cream and icing sugar, until thick. Fold the cooled coffee mixture into the cream.
- Place a layer of sponge fingers on the base of the loaf pan. Trim the ends if too long. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the pear syrup. Top with ¼ of the cream, half the pears, 1 tablespoon of pecans and ½ the ginger. Repeat the layers.
- Top with a final layer of sponge fingers, drizzle with a little more juice then top with another ¼ of the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Turn the gateau upside down on a serving plate. Remove the pan and film. Coat the top with the remaining cream and walnuts. Stand the gingerbread men around the sides of the gateau, if using.
The following bakes with seasonal fruit all use level metric measurements. For best results, when measuring a dry ingredient spoon it into the measuring cup then level the top with the spoon. Place the measuring cup on the bench to check if the level is correct. Do not pack it down. The exception to the rule is brown sugar. This should be lightly packed — except when the recipe states is should be ‘firmly’ packed.