Friday, September 11, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Sticky Toffee Pudding

I know that often times English cooking is said to be less than delicious, but after spending time there, I have to heartily disagree.  English pub food, and English desserts, might be some of my favorite foods ever.  I found this recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding in my Cook's Illustrated International cookbook, and it was amazing.  Noah and I gave it a perfect 10, Owen gave it a 9, and Aaron gave it an 8, saying it's one of his favorite "cake" desserts he's ever had.  Each pudding, with the creme Anglaise was 832 calories, so ouch! but worth it ;).  Although called a pudding, it isn't like our pudding, rather it is more like bread pudding, a solid, cake-like steamed pudding that is so moist and delicious.  This has dates in it, and although I don't like to eat dates by themselves, I do love them in desserts.  This seems to have a lot of steps, but it is relatively easy to put together.

Creme Anglaise:

1 c cream
1 c half and half
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
4 egg yolks
1/2 t cornstarch (this isn't required, but makes it a little thicker)
pinch of salt

Bring the cream and half and half to a simmer, and keep it at medium-low after reaching a simmer.
In a medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Slowly temper the eggs with the hot cream, then add the egg mixture to the pan and stir constantly until thickened a little and the temperature of the cream is 180 degrees.
Pour the creme anglaise through a fine mesh sieve, stir in the vanilla, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Pudding Cakes:

butter, flour and parchment for the ramekins
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
14 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 c water
3/4 c packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
4 T unsalted butter, melted

Toffee Sauce:

8 T unsalted butter
1 c packed brown sugar
2/3 c heavy cream
1 T rum (optional, use rum flavoring or more vanilla if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter and flour the ramekins, then cut a parchment round to fit the bottom of each ramekin.  Place a kitchen towel in a large roasting pan, place the ramekins on top, and bring some water to a boil.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
Combine the water, half the dates, and the baking soda together and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes.  Remove the dates and reserve the liquid.
Process the remaining dates in a food processor with the brown sugar until just blended.  Add in the reserved soaking liquid, the eggs, and vanilla and process until smooth.  With the food processor running, pour in the melted butter.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the rest of the dates.
Gently fold in the flour mixture until just combined, divide the batter between the ramekins, and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, with the towel there to keep things moist and securely in place.  Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, then bake about 40 minutes.

While the cakes bake, melt the butter for the toffee sauce in a pan, whisk in the brown sugar until smooth, about 3-4 minutes, then stir in the cream and rum.  When well combined, set aside and cover to keep warm.

When the cakes are done, transfer them to a rack immediately to cool for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, poke holes all over the top of the cakes, and spoon toffee sauce over them, allowing the sauce to soak in.  When ready to serve, unmold the cakes from the ramekins, invert them onto a plate with creme anglaise on it, then top the cake with more toffee sauce and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. This does have a lot of steps, but it sounds good. Is it easy to come out or is is like creme brulee? It sound difficult to me. I really like dates, too. I eat them plain, but also like them in cooked things. There are certain foods that the Brits get right and this is one of them. Thanks for doing this. Love mom