The Golden Syrup can be replaced by jam with equally joyous results. A pudding basin is a kind of china bowl that goes into the oven.
I made this recipe for a St. Patrick’s party held by my friends (and extended family) Chris and Amanda. It’s always fun making things from “The Cookbook” at other people’s places. It gives me a chance to work under different conditions. To make it even more interesting, the recipe was doubled to accommodate all of the attending people. I’d like to point out that all of the pictures were taken by another good buddy, Robert Ohannessian.
One of the needed ingredients for this recipe is caster sugar. You could go out and buy some for a pretty penny, or make your own by putting regular old sugar in a food processor or blender. A quick blitzing, and boom – superfine sugar.
To make the sponge cake, caster sugar was combined with a decent amount of butter.
To that, an egg was gently mixed in along with some flour to prevent the batter from curdling. The other eggs were added one by one and incorporated slowly.
Lots of freshly grated lemon zest was called for, and supplied.
Now for the “treacle” part of the dessert, Lyle’s Golden Syrup. I hit up Wikipedia for more information about this UK-based concoction, and what is a treacle anyways?
Treacle is the generic name for any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane and is defined as “uncrystallized syrup produced in refining sugar”. Treacle is used chiefly in cooking as a form of sweetener or condiment.
Lyle’s golden syrup is a partially inverted sugar syrup. It consists of glucose and fructose syrup produced by inversion, which has been blended with the original sucrose syrup in a proportion that creates a thick mixture which does not crystallize.
What I was hoping for was a description of the flavors that are subtly hidden behind the overwhelming sweet nature of the golden syrup. My palate isn’t as refined as I’d like, but I think that Lyle’s syrup tastes mostly of sugar with a lightly bitter caramel after taste, hints of vanilla, and even lemon notes here and there. It’s an unusual treat for those of us that don’t live in the UK, and I’m happy to have two cans in my arsenal now.
At this point in the recipe I needed to pour the Golden Syrup into a pudding basin. Now, I do not have a pudding basin on hand. They’re not terribly expensive if you really, really want to own one, but I figured that a Pyrex mixing bowl that had been buttered would work just as well in a pinch. In went half the can of syrup…
… and the batter was spooned out right on top of it.
The bowl was then covered in foil, and placed in a medium hot oven for about an hour or so. Doubling a recipe on the fly is always a blind experiment. It should work perfectly, in theory. Now that I think about it, I’ve had a lot more failures than successes trying to double recipes in the past. I should probably stop trying my hand at theoretical cooking.
The only problem is that on the rare occasion things do work out well (like this one) it bolsters my confidence in my own abilities. “See! I’m getting better! I know what I’m doing!” Famous last words, right?
A quick flip out onto a serving plate and the baked pudding was completed. As I cut into the golden brown mound, I noticed that the syrup had integrated itself into the outermost part of the cake, forming a slightly crunchy crust that stuck to your teeth. The cake itself was wonderfully moist, had a fine crumb, and a refreshing lemon flavor thanks to the zest. Amanda is an excellent baker in her own right and she really seemed to enjoy this cake, as did everyone else.
Perhaps the best part of this recipe is its simplicity. Seven ingredients in total, easy to follow steps and a short baking time has earned this recipe a permanent spot in my head, right behind my grandmother’s fruit cobbler. It’s just that good.
One down, fifty nine to go.
UPDATE: I’ve learned two new things about this recipe from the comments!
The first revalation comes from Gem of curiousconfections.com
If I can make a suggestion, if you find a smaller bowl than the pyrex then the batter will cook quicker so the syrup will remain a sauce with only a little of it soaking it, it shouldn’t be forming the crust that you mentioned.
Maybe try using some ramekins?
I’ll just have to make this again to get proper results.
Secondly, Russel Everett (who has been featured here before) was kind enough to describe how to make your own Golden Syrup at home
Heads up, I use sometimes use Lyle’s Golden Syrup to brew certain British and Belgian beer styles. I got sick of paying for it, and having to go find it. So now I make it. It’s just invert sugar, after all. And it’s easy.
Invert sugar is just sucrose (table sugar) that’s been boiled in the presence of an acid. The sucrose breaks down into glucose and fructose, and becomes stable as a syrup, so it won’t re-crystallize.
To make it, I put a pound of sugar in a pot with a cup of water and a teaspoon of cream of tartar or lemon juice. We’ve got really soft water here, if you have hard water you should add a bit more acid. Bring it to a boil and stir the sugar into the water. When it’s boiling, stop stirring and watch it. It will start to turn color, and you can pull it when it’s gotten as dark as you want. And it will get more caramelly and intense, the darker it gets.
Lyle’s is a light, just slightly orangy color. You could boil it just for a minute or two for nearly clear, which is good for baking applications. I’ve also taken it to a molasses color for funky dark Belgian beers.
After it cools it’s shelf-stable for a long time, so you can put it in a jar. It should remain a syrup, if it recrystallizes you didn’t add enough acid. And you get a pound of it for about 75 cents.
Thank you both very much!