Thursday, 12 January 2012
I meant to post these in 2011 as I thought they'd be a good party dessert for the holiday season. I ran out of time. You're just going to have to have a dessert party now.
(Oh and no, I'm not on a January diet. In case you hadn't guessed. Delicious things eaten in moderation every day of the year here.)
Mum and I made these a few times when I was little - preparing them was more of an event than the party we took them to. I loved waiting for them to cool until just the right point (somewhere between scorching and scalding) and then rushing to get them neatly curled up before they stiffened and shattered.
I decided to serve these drizzled with a sharp berry sauce. I always like contrast in desserts. The sweet spicy warmth from the ginger and brandy in the snaps plays off the cool, pure cream piped inside. The berry sauce adds an acidic edge while still pairing with the rich spicy flavours.
Brandy snaps are eaten with your fingers. The snap cracks and shatters and the cream oozes everywhere, stained pink from the sauce. It's messy. It's worth it.
(adapted from Delia's Book of Cakes)
50g golden syrup
40g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tsp brandy
approx 500ml double cream to fill
100g mixed berries (optional sauce)
icing sugar to taste (optional sauce)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a baking sheet with a little butter but don't line it. Melt the syrup with the sugar and butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth (no crystals from the sugar). Take off the heat then beat in the flour, ginger and salt. Finally stir in the brandy.
Spoon the mixture onto the sheet in teaspoons, leaving quite a bit of space between each and only putting a maximum of 9 on a tray at once - start with a few as you have to work quickly to roll them. Put into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes - they should be lacy and a deep rusty gold (see the photo above). Prepare yourself while they bake with a wooden spoon (or another tool of a similar circumference), something to place the hot tray on and a wire cooling rack. Leave to firm up a little on the hot tray for 2 minutes. If any have spread into each other, quickly cut down the join with a sharp knife.
When you can lift them up and they don't break but are still pliable, lift one off and quickly wrap it around the handle of the spoon. Hold for a moment then slide off and leave to cool completely. You need to work quickly as the moment when they are perfectly pliable is short.
I really recommend making a sharp berry sauce to drizzle over the brandy snaps. To do so, heat the berries gently (I used frozen berries) until they're soft. Add icing sugar to taste. Finally pass through a sieve to get rid of any seeds and skin.
To fill the brandy snaps, whip up the cream until it holds firm peaks (but be careful to not overwhip - you just need it strong enough to stay in the snaps and not run out). Fill a piping bag and pipe into each brandy snap. Drizzle with the sauce if you're using it. Eat with your fingers.