A classic French cake, Savarin (sah-vah-rahn) is soaked in rum or liqueur-flavoured syrup. If possible, use a special savarin mould when making this cake to give it its traditional shape. However, if you do not have a savarin mould any large ring mould or cake tin may be used.

Savarin may be baked, cooled com-pletely, and stored for up to three days in an airtight tin. If you do make the cake in advance and wish to serve it with its traditional syrup, warm it in a cool oven for about

15 minutes, then continue soaking the cake as described in the recipe. oz. fresh yeast

1 tablespoon plus

½ teaspoon sugar

5 fl. oz. milk, lukewarm

8 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

4 eggs, lightly beaten

5 oz. plus

1 tablespoon butter, softened

15 fl. oz. Creme Chantilly

16 blanched almonds, halved and toasted

6 oz. sugar

12 fl. oz. water

5 fl. oz. rum

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the { teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add 2 fluid ounces of the milk and cream the milk and yeast together to form a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining milk and the eggs. Sprinkle over the remaining sugar. Using a wooden spoon, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated.

Using your hands, beat the mixture, pulling and stretching, for 5 minutes or until it is elastic and smooth. Clean the sides of the bowl to remove the small pieces of dough. Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and set it aside in a warm, draught-free place. Leave it for 1 hour or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, with the tablespoon of butter, grease a 10-inch savarin mould and set aside.

With your fist, tap the dough until it collapses. Knead in the remaining butter, cut into small pieces, making sure each piece is absorbed before adding the next. Pour the mixture into the prepared mould and return it to a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough has almost risen to the top of the mould.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450 °F (Gas Mark 8, 230°C).

Place the mould in the centre of the oven and bake for

20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to fairly hot

375 °F (Gas MARK 5,

190°C) and bake the savarin for a further

15 minutes or until it is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the mould from the oven and allow the savarin to cool for 5 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool to warm.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over moderate heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to moderately high and bring the syrup to the boil. Reduce the heat to low

A classic French yeast rum-flavoured syrup or fruit juice. the orange segments in half and decorate the cream with them. Serve immediately. and simmer the syrup for 5 minutes. Stir the rum into the syrup and remove the pan from the heat.

Return the savarin to its mould and, using a kitchen fork, prick the top all over. Carefully pour the hot syrup over the savarin and set aside for 10 minutes or until the syrup has been absorbed. Invert a serving dish over the mould and reverse the two. The savarin will slide out easily. Set aside to cool completely.

Fill a forcing bag, fitted with a z-inch star nozzle, with the cream and pipe it decoratively in the centre of the savarin and around the base. Decorate the savarin with the almonds. Serve immediately.

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