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Put the syrup, sugar and milk into a saucepan, then bring to a simmer to dissolve. Leave to cool almost completely while you get on with everything else. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Put the butter, flour, bicarb, ground ginger and cinnamon into a food processor, then pulse until it forms fine crumbs. Generously butter a 1.4-litre pudding basin and sprinkle 1 tsp sugar into the bottom. Cut 3 of the ginger balls in half and put 5 halves, rounded-side down, into the bottom, like the points of a star. Cut one cheek from a pear, then slice through about 10 times, without cutting through the stalk end. Put this into the bottom of the bowl amongst the ginger, then press gently so that the pear fans out. Core, then thinly slice the remaining pear. Finely chop the rest of the ginger.
Tip the cooled syrup mix and egg into a food processor, then quickly whizz with the dry ingredients to a batter. Take out the blade, then stir in the chopped ginger and sliced pear. Scrape the mix into the basin, then bake for 1 hr 20 mins until risen and dark golden, and a skewer comes out clean. Whatever you do, don’t open the oven before 45 mins is up.
To finish, gently melt the syrup ingredients in a pan together until the sugar dissolves, then boil briefly. Turn the pudding out of its basin just before serving, spoon over the syrup and serve with custard.
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