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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."

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Ponderaciones with manjar blanco and chocolate ice-cream


You'll need

For deep-frying: vegetable oil To serve: pure icing sugar, sieved To serve: good-quality chocolate ice-cream   Ponderacion batter 2 eggs, lightly whisked 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour 150 gm caster sugar 230 ml milk   Manjar blanco 1 litre (4 cups) milk 440 gm (2 cups) caster sugar Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean 2 tbsp pouring cream

Method

  • 01
  • For manjar blanco, stir milk, sugar and vanilla seeds gently over low heat until mixture starts to change colour, then stir continuously until a thick cream-coloured sauce forms (40-50 minutes). Add cream and set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for ponderacion batter, beat ingredients and a pinch of salt gradually until a smooth batter forms.
  • 03
  • Pour oil into a wide saucepan to 4cm deep and heat to 190C. Holding the rim of a 8cm flower-shaped cutter with tongs, place it in hot oil (be careful, hot oil will spit) until very hot (1 minute), then quickly dip it into the batter up to the top of the mould (it should sizzle when it hits the batter; if it isn’t hot enough, the batter may not stick), then quickly return to oil and fry, holding under the oil with tongs, until golden and crisp (3-5 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper, then shake a little to help detach it from the mould. Repeat with remaining batter, then dust ponderaciones with icing sugar and serve topped with ice-cream and drizzled with manjar blanco to taste.

These are somewhere between tuilles and fried pastries and the technique for making them is quite unusual. A mould is dipped into batter and then into hot oil, so the batter takes its shape. These traditional moulds come in various shapes (spirals and flowers are common) and have a long handle not unlike a brûlée iron to make the frying easier. The real thing is hard to find in Australia, so instead we've used tongs and a flower-shaped biscuit cutter. Manjar blanco is similar to dulche de leche but not as caramelised. It is a classic accompaniment to the ponderaciones. We've added a scoop of chocolate ice-cream to salute the chocolate of Peru.


At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

Drink Suggestion

Rich, luscious Pedro Ximénez.

Featured in

Jan 2013

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