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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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Overnight waffles, brown butter pecan ice-cream and spiced pears

Adding pearl sugar to the dough is the secret to the delicious caramelised crunch of these waffles. Begin this recipe a day ahead to prove the waffle mixture.

You'll need

125 ml (½ cup) warm milk 1½ tsp dry yeast 1 egg, lightly beaten 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour 40 gm brown sugar or maple sugar Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean 125 gm softened butter 50 gm pearl sugar (see note) For brushing: vegetable oil To serve: maple syrup and chopped roasted pecan   Brown butter pecan ice-cream 200 gm cold butter, coarsely chopped 500 ml (2 cups) milk 50 gm liquid glucose 300 ml pouring cream 8 egg yolks 80 gm brown sugar 120 gm pecans, roasted, coarsely chopped   Spiced pears 400 gm raw caster sugar Thinly peeled rind of 1 orange 2 cardamom pods, cracked 1 each star anise and cinnamon quill 4 small ripe pears (such as corella), cored and halved


  • 01
  • Combine milk and yeast in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add egg and a third of the flour, and stir to combine. Scatter in remaining flour (do not stir) and set aside until yeast mixture bubbles through flour (1 hour). Add sugar, vanilla seeds, 1 tsp fine sea salt and knead until a dough forms (3-5 minutes). Add butter a little at a time, kneading until soft (4-5 minutes). Shape into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (2 hours). Knock back dough, wrap in plastic wrap, weight with a plate and refrigerate overnight for flavours to develop.
  • 02
  • For brown butter pecan ice-cream, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter and swirl until golden brown and foaming (4-5 minutes). Strain off clarified butter (reserve for another use) and place solids in a bowl. Bring milk, glucose and half the cream to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (2-3 minutes), add butter solids and whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture, then transfer to a clean saucepan and stir over medium heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (6-8 minutes). Pour into a bowl over an ice bath and stir occasionally until cold. Whisk in remaining cream, then churn in an ice-cream machine. Layer ice-cream and pecans alternately into a container and freeze until firm (8 hours or overnight). Makes 1.2 litres.
  • 03
  • For spiced pears, stir sugar, rind, spices and 800ml water in a saucepan over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for flavours to develop (10 minutes), then add pears, cover with a round of baking paper, weight with a plate and poach until just tender (35-45 minutes). Remove from heat and cool in poaching liquid.
  • 04
  • Place pearl sugar in a large bowl, press dough into sugar to coat, then knead to incorporate. Divide dough into 6 pieces, roll into balls and set aside on a tray lined with baking paper until doubled in size (45 minutes to 1 hour).
  • 05
  • Brush a heated waffle-maker with oil. Flatten dough balls slightly into the waffle-maker and cook in batches until golden and cooked through (5-6 minutes). Serve hot with brown butter pecan ice-cream and spiced pears, drizzled generously with maple syrup and scattered with pecans.

Note Pearl sugar is available from select delicatessens and specialist baking shops.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Pommeau (an aged blend of apple juice and apple brandy).

Featured in

Jun 2014

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