Just in time for Christmas, we have a lovely festive treat for you. Winner of 2012′s Great British Bake Off, John Whaite, has come up with his very own version of the classic ring cake Savarin. This special version is packed with pomegranate, cinnamon and orange – a combination which not only tastes amazing but also creates a wonderfully aromatic Christmas centrepiece. Get baking!
John Whaite’s Christmas Savarin
225g plain flour
½ tsp salt
40g caster sugar
7g sachet instant yeast
4 medium free-range eggs
2 tbsp milk
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
zest of 1 large orange (slice the zested orange and put to one side)
zest of 1 large lemon
1.5 tsp mixed spice
75g flaked almonds
For the syrup
220g caster sugar
150ml pomegranate juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 slice of the orange used for zest
1 tbsp cherry brandy (or regular brandy)
the orange used for zest, sliced
the kernels from 1 medium sized pomegranate
sifting of icing sugar
To make the savarin batter, place the flour into a mixing bowl and stir through the salt and sugar. Then stir the yeast through the flour. Place the eggs and milk into a jug and beat together. Pour this into the dry ingredients and using a wooden spoon or handheld mixer, beat together for about 5 minutes. You could do this in a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment. After about 5 minutes, add the butter in cubes, and beat well to incorporate into the mixture until it is smooth, elastic and satiny. When the butter is well incorporated, add the orange and lemon zests, mixed spice and almond flakes and mix in until they are evening distributed. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave the batter to prove for 1 hour.
Meanwhile grease an 8 inch savarin mould with butter and place it into the freezer for 10 minutes. Then grease it again and freeze until needed. This double greasing process helps to ensure that the baked savarin does not stick to the tin.
When the batter has rested for 1 hour, remove the savarin mould from the freezer and dust with a generous amount of caster sugar, ensuring that you get sugar on all of the inside of the mould. Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4, then spoon the batter into the mould and even it out. Cover with oiled cling film, and leave to rest for another hour.
When the batter has risen, place into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the savarin has risen up out of the tin (though it should not have muffin topped over) and is golden brown.
Whilst the savarin is baking, make the syrup by heating the sugar and pomegranate juice in a medium saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to low. Add the cinnamon stick, orange slice and cherry brandy and allow to slowly infuse for 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and place to one side for later.
Remove the savarin from the mould and pour about a third of the syrup into the mould (remove the cinnamon stick and orange slice from the syrup first, though do not throw those away). Gently place the savarin back into the mould so that it can start to soak up the spiced syrup. Pour the remaining syrup into a deep sided baking tray, then place the savarin, bare side down, into the syrup, and leave to soak for about 5 minutes. Remove the mould, place the savarin onto a serving plate, and decorate with orange slices, pomegranate kernels, flaked almonds, and a snowy sifting of icing sugar.
John Whaite will be featuring at Cake International - The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show taking place at EventCity, Manchester from 8-10 March and ExCeL, London from 12-14 April. Visit www.cakeinternational.co.uk for more information.