And here we are again – the fnal blog post of another year.
In 2011 my final post was a visual toast to my readers.
In 2010 my final post was a recipe for shredded Brussels sprouts with pancetta & pine nuts
In 2009 my final post was a Christmas message (gulp – a whole week without a blog post?!).
In 2008, ever the practical one, it was a recipe for a leftover Christmas gammon & caramelised shallot quiche.
In 2007, my final post was a recipe for a warming, wintry Jerusalem artichoke & potato gratin.
And in 2004, my final post of my first year of blogging was a reminiscence of new year’s eves gone by and featured (astonishingly!) some ABBA lyrics.
But as every good cook knows, a good meal should end with something sweet and so because I have neglected to do so up to now, I will finish my year in 2012 with a dessert recipe that will eclipse the new year fireworks – but yet it isn’t rocket science to make. The basic recipe is an adaptation of something I made years ago with dried apricots and pistachios, but the flavour inspiration comes from the McCormick 2013 Flavour Forecast. The Flavour Forecast is the result of a year of culinary exploration, data discovery, and insight development by an international group of McCormick experts, including chefs, sensory scientists, trend trackers and food technologists. The objective is to identify the trends and flavours in food and cooking worldwide, and then to hold a global to pool their insights and establish a limited number of global themes which seem to be emerging in locations as diverse as Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and North America. I previously used one of their five trend themes identified in the forecast (“Global, my way”) as a springboard to inspire my South African chakalaka-spiced hummus, but this time it was another of the themes that caught my eye: no apologies necessary. The Forecast describes the thinking behind this trend as follows:
“In a rational rebellion against the “always-on” mindset of modern life, food lovers are making the conscious choice to stop and enjoy the moment. This unapologetic escape from everyday demands is a necessary break, a chance to savour each detail of the eating experience. Diving head first into sumptuous flavours, we are staking our claim to the pleasures we crave and the satisfaction we deserve until, finally, all seems right with the world.”
Doesn’t that sound like a tailor-made set of new year’s resolutions for 2013?? One of the recipes sent to accompany this trend was for a charred orange sorbet with a warm rum sauce. That’s what set my mind racing and ed me to adapt my old recipe with these new flavours to create a simple yet spectacular dessert fit for a New Year’s Eve dinner. Using clementines with their softer skin means that you don’t have to peel them as the skin is soft enough to eat, but the essential marriage of rum and citrus remains the same (and it is fabulous, I have to say!). The cake itself is dense yet never heavy, thanks to the whipped egg whites, and the syrup is rich but never too sweet. I must warn you, though, that these little cakes are addictive! Thanks once again to McCormick for sharing their forecast and their recipes with me – I foresee a year of flavourful innovation and experimentation in the Cooksister kitchen.
To all my readers – thank you for your support, comments and friendship in 2012. May you find time in 2013 to stop, switch off and enjoy the moment; to escape regularly from the demands of everyday life; to dive into flavours and experiences that enrich your life; and that you may enjoy health, prosperity and friendship. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
- 90 + 45 ml orange juice
- 45ml dark rum
- 6 horizontal slices of unpeeled clementine, about 3mm thick (you will probably need 3 large clementines)
- 3 Tbsp butter + butter for greasing the ramekins
- 85g firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 190g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 63g + 63g granulated sugar, divided (plus extra for charring)
- 85ml milk
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- Lightly butter the inside of six oven-proof ramekins and then line with baking paper (I found it was easiest to cut circles for the bases and strips for the sides, rather than to try and use a single piece). Preheat oven to 180C.
- Slice the largest clementines you can find horizontally (through their “equator”) to get 6 slices large enough to cover the base of your ramekins.
- Melt a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan till it bubbles, sprinkle each slice of clementine generously with granulated sugar and fry till slightly charred, then sprinkle each with sugar, flip over and repeat. Place one slice in the base of each prepared ramekin.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Set aside 1Tbsp in a small bowl for later. Add 85ml of the orange juice and brown sugar to the butter in the saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for about 1 minute or until the mixture thickens slightly to form a caramel sauce.
- Carefully divide the caramel sauce between the six ramekins. Pour the sauce over the clementine slice in the base of each ramekin and gently swirl to get an even layer.
- Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. To the reserved melted butter, add 63g of the granulated sugar, milk, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir well. Add this to flour mixture and beat well to ensure there are no lumps. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks almost form.
- Gently fold about a quarter of the egg white mixture into batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
- Carefully pour the batter over the charred clementine slices in the ramekins. Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until a wooden tooth pick inserted in centre of the cakes comes out clean.
- In the meanwhile, return the saucepan that you used for the caramel to the heat with the last Tbsp of butter and add the remaining orange juice and rum. Bring to the boil and reduce to a syrupy consistency.
- After removing the cakes from the oven, allow to stand for 5 minutes on a wire rack, then carefully invert each ramekin onto an individual serving plate. Lift the ramekin carefully – it should come away from the cake easily – and peel off the baking paper. Pour a little of the orange rum syrup over each pudding and serve immediately with a scoop of double cream.