Warm Gingerbread, scented with molasses, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, with sweet cold Cider Sabayon gracefully flowing down its side, was what I made for our Thanksgiving dessert this year. It was a not-too-heavy, but lovely end to our feast. Our groaning board held the traditional turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, plus my Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad, and Beet and Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Molasses. Oh, and don’t forget the Sweet Buttery Cornbread. We were all pretty much groaning ourselves by the end. But it was worth it!
I made this Gingerbread for my final test for my first pastry and baking class in culinary school. The test was really about the Sabayon, which we had learned to make in that class. My finished dish also included some warm apple slices that had been sautéed in butter and finished with Calvados. They were spooned around the base of the Gingerbread and added another apple flavored layer to the whole dish.
I also made this Sabayon for a culinary school banquet dessert for 100 people. You can read the whole story of that banquet, with photos of the event. Below is a photo of the dessert with the Sabayon, Raspberry Coulis, Berries and cookies that I made for that banquet. It’s from a film camera and scanned into digital, but you get the idea. I have also served this Sabayon in pretty glasses layered with berries for a light summer dessert.
Gingerbread with Apple Cider Sabayon
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces salted butter (1 stick) softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter bottom and sides of 9×13” pan.
2. Stir the molasses and baking soda into the boiling water. Immediately turn off heat and allow to cool completely.
3. Sift the dry ingredients together into a medium bowl.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar with the paddle on medium high for 2 minutes. Add egg and mix to incorporate, scraping down the sides.
5. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, on low speed, alternately fold flour mixture and molasses mixture into the egg mixture. Scrape down sides as needed.
6. Pour batter into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.
Apple Cider Sabayon
Makes 6 cups
8 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
½ cup + 2 tablespoons apple cider or best quality apple juice
2 tablespoons Calvados or brandy
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. In a deep saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a low boil.
2. In a large flat stainless steel bowl, place two trays of ice cubes and fill ¾ full with water.
3. In a large deep stainless steel bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Whisk vigorously to combine. Add cider and brandy and whisk in.
4. Place large bowl on saucepan and turn heat down to medium low. Make sure bottom of bowl does not touch water. Whisk egg mixture continuously over bain marie for 5 minutes or more, until it is 3 times original volume. Check that there is no liquid mixture remaining on bottom of bowl.
5. Place bowl of egg sabayon in ice bath and whisk occasionally until it is cold.
6. Whip the whipping cream to medium peak in a large bowl. Pour sabayon over whipped cream and, with a large spatula, fold together. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
Note: Please make sure your molasses and spices are less than one year old for best flavor.