The optional theme for this month’s FS Blog Round Up is the “signature.” When I read that it took me a few seconds to figure out that she means the mini posting history some people in the FS use as an email signature – mine would be “Conakry 2011-2013, Dublin 2013-2015.” Wow, 2015. Seems so futuristic. However, as a devoted viewer of cooking reality shows, the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the prompt was the “signature dish”, a single plate that is supposed to encapsulate a chef’s personal approach to cooking, show off their skills, and also taste delicious. I have one.
My “signature dish” is Gingerbread Puddings with Candied Apples. Unlike the chefs of TV fame, I didn’t come up with this all by myself – you can get the recipe here (though I may have tweaked it a tiny, tiny bit). I just made it, loved it, and kept on making it. I serve it every year at Christmastime, at a family celebration or a dinner party with friends. It’s not a terribly difficult recipe but it does require commitment and lots of advance prep. To make the puddings you first have to make the gingerbread, then dice it into little cubes, make a ginger custard, soak the gingerbread in the custard, and bake it. The apple garnish requires a lot of time at the cutting board and hours to simmer. If you’re in Conakry or someplace like it, you’ll need to make the ice cream to put on top of it as well. When serving it’s important to get the timing right and have a quick assembly line, because these things have to be eaten right out of the oven.
But my friends, it is worth it, because this dessert is a SHOWSTOPPER. Every spoonful is warm and spicy, cool and tangy, and cold and creamy, all at the same time. Men (and women) have proposed to me after tasting this, only mostly in jest. If I ever meet a guy I’d want to take up on such an offer you can guess what I’m going to feed him. So now you too have the secret to my signature dessert. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.