Thursday, 22 December 2011

Garam Masala Gingerbread

This moist spicy Gingerbread is the perfect companion to coffee or tea, whether for breakfast or as an afternoon pick-me-up. The teaspoon of garam masala mostly adds aroma with the dominant spice being ginger here both in its powdered form and whole.The pepper, cinnamon and cloves (to name just a few) in the garam masala blend act as wonderful supporting spices. They all deserve Oscars for their star qualities in my opinion.  

Ginger is such a versatile spice used in both savoury and sweet dishes. It is a common ingredient in South Asian cuisine where it forms the base of many sauces, adding tangy, pungent notes and lemony aromas. It's mild sweetness also works well in cakes, biscuits and especially, with chocolate (see my Chocolate Terrine with Speculoos recipe).

Garam masala is a spice blend used to add aroma and depth to many dishes across the subcontinent. It quite literally translated means 'hot blend'  - hot refers to the heat from the spices which are said to raise the body's metabolism. There is no definite recipe for this blend as each region and even down to each family, have their own version of it handed down from one generation to another. For the basic list of ingredients see the garam masala post here . Add a few of your own favourites to the blend, and you'll have your very own garam masala to pass on to your loved ones. 

Anyone for tea?

I have adapted the following recipe from Sophie Grigson's SPICES, an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn about using spices in the kitchen. I have opted for crystallized (or candied) ginger here rather than stem ginger as recommended in the original recipe, for its chewy texture, and added black treacle for extra moistness and depth. As a result I have reduced the sugar quantity to make up for this sweet addition and substituted the cinnamon for garam masala as it is one of the main ingredients in this blend.

The Recipe

280g plain flour
1 heaped tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
200g of Golden Syrup
50g of Black Treacle
80g muscovado sugar
170g butter at room temperature
200ml milk
1 heaped tsp of Garam Masala
1 tbsp of powdered ginger
3 medium sized balls of crystallized ginger (chopped into little bits)

1. Warm the oven at 180°. Line and grease a 20cm square tin with baking parchment.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, ginger, and garam masala and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. Cream the sugar and butter together in another bowl. Beat in the syrup and treacle followed with a tablespoon of the dry ingredients and then the egg to form a smooth batter.
4. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the milk. Mix well to form a smooth batter. Finally stir in the cystallized ginger.
5. Pour the batter into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares and store in a cake tin to prevent the cake from drying out quickly.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - this cake looks awesome! I will definitely have to try making it soon.