A classic comfort dish, in this recipe we add nuts for protein and antioxidants, some ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties, and orange zest. Still nostalgic, but a little more brainy. Serve with rich egg custard or a little cream if you fancy.
Better Brain Food
Images and recipes from
Better Brain Food
by Ngaire Hobbins
(Murdoch Books RRP $39.99)
150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) self-raising flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed, plus 30 g (1 oz) extra
45 g (1½ oz cup) pecan nuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
120 g (4¼ oz) brown sugar
zest and juice of 2 oranges
90 g (3¼ oz/¼ cup) golden syrup (light treacle)
Sift the flour and ginger into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub between your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the pecans. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the milk and egg. Use a butter knife to mix until well combined. Divide into eight equal portions, and roll each portion into a ball using your hands.
In a large saucepan with a well-fitting lid, melt the sugar, extra butter, orange zest and juice and golden syrup over low heat, until the sugar dissolves. You’ll need to stir it occasionally. Increase the heat to medium–high and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and carefully place the dumplings into the syrup.
Reduce the heat to medium–low, cover with the lid and cook for 6–7 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the dumplings comes out clean. Turn the dumplings in syrup so they’re all covered in the sauce. Spoon the dumplings and syrup into serving bowls and top with custard or even a generous dollop of cream. Serve immediately.
375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) thin (pouring) cream
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
5 large egg yolks
55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) sugar
To make the custard, put the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the nutmeg and vanilla. Bring this to just below a simmer; you’ll see little bubbles forming around the edge, that’s when to take it off the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Try not to make it foamy, you’re just combining the two. Add a little of the cream to the yolks while whisking, then gradually pour in about half of the cream while whisking constantly. Return this mixture to the saucepan and, using a wooden spoon, cook for 3–4 minutes over medium–low heat, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom, until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain into a bowl, and either serve straight away or allow to cool before covering and storing in the fridge.