Gingerbread pudding with red wine pears

Gingerbread pud': The secret's in the sauce.
Gingerbread pud': The secret's in the sauce. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Nut-free

Here are some tips for making your saucy fruit puddings better. Getting the fruit mixture hot first helps to avoid the uncooked middle that drags the baking time out and over-colours the top. Also, keep the fruit quite liquid as the cake mixture will absorb moisture from it during baking. Finally, because the fruit gets cooked twice, try to keep some texture at first so it doesn't utterly disintegrate by the end.

Ingredients

For the pears

6 rock-hard pears

350ml red wine

75g castor sugar

For the gingerbread top

100g unsalted butter

100g molasses sugar

1 egg (60g)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g crystallised ginger pieces, chopped

50ml milk

50g rolled oats

150g spelt or wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

extra oats for the top

Method

1. Peel, quarter and core the pears and place them in a saucepan with the wine and sugar. Bring to the boil then leave to simmer for about 40 minutes. The wine will only half cover the fruit, so stir it every 5 to 10 minutes so the pears get evenly cooked. Remove from the heat.

2. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Beat together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl then beat in the egg and spices. Add the ginger pieces and milk, stir well, then add the oats, flour and baking powder and mix evenly.

3. Bring the pears to the boil again and spoon them into a two-litre ovenproof baking dish. Spoon over the topping, adding a sprinkling of oats, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the centre of the pudding is cooked through. Serve with thin pouring cream or a rich vanilla custard.