Esther's Gingerbread with Jo-Anne Tracey’s Sweet Semi-Dried Figs and Kikorangi
(makes 1 loaf/cake)
Esther Woollaston, was a quilt maker extraordinaire, who also worked as front of house for Ruth Pretty Catering. It's not just chefs I hit up for recipes. This is the best gingerbread I have ever tasted. Every time I make this I remember the lovely Esther.
Preheat oven to 150°C.
Grease and line the base of an 11cm x 30cm loaf tin (or alternatively a 23cm square tin).
Into a large bowl sift flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, mixed spice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
In small saucepan melt golden syrup with butter.
To the dry ingredients add the golden syrup mixture followed by eggs and milk. Combine ingredients well, using a whisk (this is a very wet mix). Pour into prepared tin.
Cook in loaf tin for 1 hour 10 minutes (in the square tin for 45 minutes) or until metal cake skewer comes out clean. When cooked leave in tin to cool for 30 minutes or more before turning out.
Serve warm or cold.
Jo-Anne Tracey’s Sweet Semi-Dried Figs with Kikorangi
These will be the most exquisite dried figs you have tasted. Slightly chewy, moist and sweet. You will obtain the best result using a dehydrator. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month or in the freezer for up to one year.
400g (2 cups) sugar
1.5 litre (6 cups) water
500g (12) ripe figs (stalks lightly trimmed)
500g (12) ripe figs(stalks lightly trimmed)
Place sugar and water into a heavy based pot. Over a low heat stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to the boil.
Using a cake tester, prick figs all over, piercing the skin. Add figs to the boiling syrup. Cut a double layer of baking paper to fit the pot. Sit the paper directly on top of the syrup to prevent the figs from bobbing above the surface of the syrup.
Reduce heat and simmer the figs covered with the paper for 3 hours. Remove the figs from the syrup and place on a cake rack and leave to drain for around 30 minutes. (Reserve the syrup for next time you make this recipe).
If figs are large, cut ¾ of the way through the figs from the base, leaving the stalk intact.
Grease dehydrator trays with baking spray or oil.
Place figs onto greased trays and place in dehydrator at 55°C and leave to dry for 24-30 hours depending on the size of your figs. If the figs are cut, place them so the halves are separate but the stalks intact.
Alternatively place the figs onto a greased baking tray. Place in a pre-heated oven at 75°C for 5 hours. Without opening the door, turn oven off, and leave the figs to finish drying overnight.
Cool to room temperature and serve.
Serve with Esther's Ginger Loaf and Kapiti Kikorangi.
Note: *Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 1 year.