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Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Poêlée of fruits, Port and saffron cream


You'll need

750 ml tawny Port 1 litre red wine 400 gm caster sugar 3 pieces each of orange and lemon rind, removed with a peeler 3 star anise 2 cinnamon quills 6 beurre bosc pears 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped 100 gm small red grapes, trimmed into bunches of 3 2 mandarins, segmented and pith removed   Saffron cream 300 ml pouring cream Pinch saffron, soaked in 2 tsp warm water

Method

  • 01
  • Simmer Port in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced by two-thirds (25-30 minutes), set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine wine, half the sugar, citrus rinds and spices in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, add pears, cover with baking paper and weight with a plate. Simmer until tender (20-25 minutes), remove from heat and cool in syrup. Drain pears from syrup before using.
  • 03
  • For saffron cream, whisk ingredients until soft peaks form and set aside in refrigerator until required.
  • 04
  • Heat remaining sugar in a large heavy-based pan over high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelised (1-2 minutes). Add half the butter, stir to combine, then add half the poached pears and cook, turning to coat in caramel (1-2 minutes). Add half the grapes and mandarin segments, turn to coat, then add half the Port reduction and simmer, stirring to combine. Divide among serving plates, repeat with remaining ingredients and serve immediately with saffron cream.

I originally discovered (and I believe I drooled a little on) Alain Ducasse's dessert book, given to me to make Neil Ferguson's wedding cake while I was working for Angela Hartnett at The Connaught in London. Neil moved on to New York and, after a less-than-amicable separation, he moved on to Monteverde, and then Allen & Delancey where he put this on the menu. I had the chance, after leaving Gordon in New York, to play with this dish at Allen & Delancey, and I think it's über chic. - Alistair Wise

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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