Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sticky Toffee Pudding - a Rainy Celebration

While half of the country has been swept up by the vortex, we have been sweltering (not quite) here in drought-ridden California. This past weekend we finally got a reprieve and had four glorious days of rain, which to me means that I can hunker down and get cozy and just eat, read and nap all weekend long - which I did.

When I lived in London, I had a deep and abiding romance with sticky toffee pudding and since leaving I must admit, I have felt a void. This weekend I decided to take matters into my own hands and make it myself. I immediately googled British recipes looking for the "best" sticky toffee pudding. After perusing for a while I realized I did not have the will to get the traditional ingredients (i.e. golden syrup, turbinado sugar, etc). So instead, I opted for an Americanized recipe that I found from Bon Appetit.

The pudding was DELICIOUS and tasted just like the versions I had abroad - I know that traditionalists will balk, but this was gooood. To make: Combine 1 1/2 cups dates and 1 1/4 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon baking soda. Set aside to cool. Sift together 1 1/2 cups AP flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Then in a large bowl beat 1/2 stick butter, 1 cup white sugar and 1 teasoon vanilla extract until just combined . Beat in 1 egg. Then add in 1/3 of your flour mixture and then stir in 1/2 of the date mixture, alternating until both are incorporated. Beat in the final egg. Pour the mixture into a buttered and floured pan - the official recipe calls for a bundt pan, I did mine in a pie pan or you could do smaller individual puddings in ramekins - up to you.
Now, this part is key, the hard sauce. In a saucepan combine 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 stick butter and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring for 3 minutes then remove from heat and stir in a smidge of vanilla extract and brandy (I used calvados). The pudding is best served warm, drizzled (or drenched) with hard sauce and a dollop of clotted cream (go big).