There are some recipes that are so central to your whole concept of family that to stop making them would be tantamount to familial mutiny. For me, this recipe is one of those.
This was basically the staple dessert of the Parry family for a good twenty years, and as I’m told that my Mum got this recipe from my Gromma, the inimitable Eileen, it might even have been in our family for longer than that. While its origins remain something of a mystery, I’ve a feeling that Gromma pulled it from a recipe book back in the day, and its simplicity and devilish taste mean that it just stuck.
We’re a 3-4 dessert household, us Parrys, and this Ginger Cream Roll would always have a place on the table, usually next to some sort of crumble, strawberries covered in sugar and usually a trifle (although being somewhat jelly-phobic, I made sure I wasn’t sat anywhere near that one). When I say that we’re a multiple dessert family, I don’t mean that we just served 4 desserts; oh no. I mean that everyone will have at least 2 different desserts, more if you’re my brother (greedy). No matter how full you were after a roast and some crumble, there was always room for Ginger Cream Roll, somewhat insanely topped with a good amount of additional single cream, which probably explains why I spent a good amount of my childhood being rather rotund.
With such a history as this, I wasn’t just going to give up on Ginger Cream Roll when I went vegan. Well, actually, I did for a couple of years, until I was sat at a cafe recently and started getting a hankering for it. As McVities Ginger Nuts are accidentally vegan, I realised that it was only the cream part that posed an issue – and haven’t I used coconut cream for pretty much every other recipe in the last year or so? Why not for this?
When I say that this is a 3-ingredient dessert, I do mean it. Biscuits, brandy / whisky / rum, and coconut cream. That’s it. The purists among you will want to grate some dark chocolate or raw cacao on top, to mimic my Gromma’s favourite topping of crumbled up Cadbury’s Flake, but that’s optional, and this dessert can actually be placed in the freezer for a couple of hours to create a gorgeous Ginger Ice Cream Roll too, as we accidentally found out once when my Ukrainian inlaws misunderstood my fridge directions.
(Feeds 5-10, or 2-3 Parrys)
1 packet vegan ginger biscuits; McVities Ginger Nuts are best!
2 cups coconut cream*
Brandy / whiskey / rum
In a large mixing bowl, whip the coconut cream until your arm is either shaking uncontrollably or refusing to move further, and the cream is forming peaks when you lift the whisk, and set aside
Brush a biscuit on both sides with the alcohol (liberally) and put a big dollop of cream on one side
Stand this biscuit on its edge
Brush another biscuit, put the dollop of cream on one side and stand it next to the other biscuit, so they are sandwiched together with one lot of cream in the middle
Continue to do this until you have a log of whatever size you want; I recommend using the whole packet of biscuits because this gets eaten fast!
Put the log in the fridge overnight, uncovered. It should look like this:
Place the rest of the coconut cream into the fridge, covered, too
An hour or so before serving, take out the log and cover it on all sides with the rest of the coconut cream
[Optional: Grate dark chocolate or raw cacao on top too]
Place back in the fridge
When ready to serve, slice on an angle for unbridled joy
*To easily get coconut cream, put 3-4 cans of coconut milk at the back of your fridge overnight. Open them up, scoop out the cream that’s separated to the top, and use that. Simple.
This is, in my mind, probably the best dessert I’ll ever make. Despite its simplicity, it defies expectations; I love serving this to people as their expression changes to one of “Holy mother of God!” as the first bite hits their taste buds.
As it’s easy to make and relatively cheap, this is a perfect dessert to make for a dinner party; and trust me, it won’t disappoint!