Saturday, August 28, 2010

Plum and Ginger Ambrosia Pudding

The recipe I'm about to share, though certainly not a secret or highly refined dessert, has served me well on many occasions - it's one of those sort-of-magical things you can pull together with a minimum of fuss (so long as you have time for a supermarket trip and a couple of hours for it to sit in the fridge) and is rich and reasonably impressive in the right setting (it's certainly not fine dining, mind you).

We are in Christchurch for a few days (a spot of skiing this morning, before the nasty wind made us give up) and tonight went to potluck at a friend's place - it's a Friday tradition, and whoever happens to be free shows up bearing whatever they felt like making - all very casual and friendly and fun. Tonight things were definitely tipped in the dessert direction - in fact, my dessert bore a startling resemblance to one of the others - and the savoury options were scarce (though those that were there were very tasty). That's the joy of potluck, though, you don't know what you'll get!

The recipe isn’t even really a recipe, and you can apply variations however you like – but I’ll tell you and show you how I did it and you can go from there.

I made a pretty big one – for a potluck, and there were 8 or 9 hungry people there and we didn’t get through it all. I used:
-    500ml cream
-    500ml greek yoghurt
-    1 ½ packets of gingernut biscuits
-    1 tin damson plums
-    About a cup of ginger ale

The method is very simple; whip the cream, fold through the yoghurt (which is entirely optional – I have never added yoghurt before but tend to find cream on its own too sickly so thought I’d vary it up a bit this time), dip the biscuits briefly into the ginger ale, and stick them together with cream. As I mentioned above, you can make this as a log, in which case you just use a teaspoonful of cream to stick them together, then cover the log with the remainder of the cream. I chose to fill a large bowl, so put a thin layer of cream on the bottom, then laid the biscuits out in flat layers over that, alternating with cream and the chopped up (and de-stoned) plums, finishing with cream. As far as the dipping is concerned, pour the ginger ale into a small bowl (anything you can get your fingers into will work), and hold each biscuit in it for about 2 seconds. Some of the liquid will soak into the biscuit and though it will likely still seem hard when you assemble the dessert, by the time you come to serve it they will all have morphed into layers of soft, cakey goodness.

I was going to grate chocolate over the top, but looking at the beautiful red syrup from the plums inspired me to make a syrup topping. I just popped the syrup into a saucepan for 5 minutes or so until it had reduced to a nice drippy, saucy, topping consistency. Ahh, gas, how glorious you are (it might take a bit longer on an electric cooktop!).

So, you can leave out the yoghurt (though of course you will also need to decrease the number of biscuits you use); you can leave out the plums, or switch for another fruit (just make sure it’s not too liquidy); you can change the type of biscuit and drink you use – chocolate (along the lines of Farmbake triple chocolate cookies) works well for a chocolatey dessert, and you can use any fizzy drink or I have heard of people using orange juice, though I haven’t tried this. It’s a very flexible recipe – and hard to go wrong. Dip biscuits; layer with cream; leave in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

Because this is a mostly-cream dessert it doesn’t last very long – it’s definitely best served a couple of hours after it’s made.Perfect for whipping up just before you head off to a shared meal!

Do you have any favourite sneaky recipes, which morph something regular into something incredible?


  1. I love how ambrosia is such a simple base for almost any kind of dessert. For years I have made the most basic variety (cream, yoghurt, boysenberries), perfect for bringing to parties, and I am always asked for the recipe. It's embarrassingly simple when I tell people what they're easy, yet never fails to impress. I hadn't thought of varying the recipe like you have - looks like something else for me to try.

  2. It is fantastic - and always tastes so good! Another potlucker had actually bought her ambrosia ingredients on the way there and made it in front of us. I love pieces of broken meringue (a la Eton mess) in my ambrosia - they soften and get kinda chewy, so good!

  3. ohhhh, just thinking, I've got some pears in the cupboard, and I've also got some "Mother Earth" non-crystalised ginger in the pantry. Cream, yoghurt, gingernuts...and I'm thinking sherry to dip the bickies. Yum yum yum.

  4. Sounds fantastic - yum! Let me know how it works out!


Theme Design by Quentin de Manson Web Design