6:08 PM EST, November 27, 2012
Alisha Hanlin is owner and chef for Pressed Flour, a bakery in Shepherds-town, W.Va. She developed this dessert recipe using a flavor profile — gingerbread, figs, caramel — to express the holiday season.
Hanlin specifies scalding cream and milk in this recipe.
"You want the cream the same temperature as your other ingredients," she said, "so scald on low heat, stirring constantly before adding. Scalding the cream can also 1) develop flavors, and 2) help the cream bind better to your other ingredients — something to do with destroying inhibiting enzymes. Just be careful not to scorch it."
— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor
Sticky gingerbread with fig caramel sauce
10 ounces water
2 teabags spiced tea
3 to 5 strips peeled raw ginger, to taste
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
7 ounces unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 ounces dark corn syrup
1 ounce light corn syrup
3 ounces blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 2 ounces buttermilk
For caramel sauce:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 to 6 calamyrna figs, diced fine
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring 10 ounces water to a boil. Add teabags, raw ginger, and cinnamon sticks. Cover and remove from heat. After 5 to 6 minutes, remove tea bags. Leave cinnamon and ginger to infuse; keep covered.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, dry ginger, ground cinnamon, ground clove, white pepper, salt and baking soda and set aside.
In another bowl, cream together butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Combine dark and light corn syrups and molasses, and add slowly to creamed butter mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until very well combined.
After tea cools, remove ginger and cinnamon from tea. Add enough buttermilk to tea to measure 10 fluid ounces total liquid.
Alternately add dry ingredients and tea-buttermilk mixture to creamed butter mixture, beating until well combined.
Butter and flour a 9-inch-square pan, and line it with parchment. Fill pan with gingerbread batter. Gently drop pan from a couple inches against counter a few times to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake for 15 minutes, turn pan 180 degrees, and bake for another 15. Check with toothpick or cake tester.
For the caramel, combine sugars and 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan and cook on low heat to dissolve sugars. Continue cooking until syrup turns very dark brown. Brush edges of pan with a wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization.
Scald cream and milk over low heat while constantly stirring then remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour slowly into sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Add salt and diced figs. Reduce to a low simmer and cook until smooth and thickened.
Remove gingerbread from pan and allow to continue cooling while caramel begins to cool. Serve together warm.
Serves 12 to 16.
— Courtesy of Alisha Hanlin of Pressed Flour in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Contact her at www.facebook.com/pressedflour.
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