With the onset of cold winter weather, one automatically longs to immerse oneself in comfort and part of that is comfort foods such as soups and stews and rich desserts or puddings as they call them over here in England.
One of the most loved puddings over here has to be Sticky Toffee Pudding. Todd and I were so lucky to have spent several holidays up in Cumbria which is the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding. Nestled in the quaint countryside of the Lake Districk is the Cartmel Village, the home of the original sticky toffee pudding, or so they claim.
Sticky toffee pudding is a rich cake that is moist with dates and covered in a lusciously sticky toffee sauce that soaks down into it's wonderful richness and creates something quite magical to eat.
The origins of sticky toffee pudding are a bit mixed. It has been rumoured to have come from the Sharrow Bay Hotel in the Lake District and yet others have claimed it comes from the Udny Arms Hotel in Aberdeenshire. Having traversed the byways and laneways of the Lake District myself, it is not hard to imagine how very cold and bleak it might well be in the winter months and how comforting a pudding such as this would be, and I can well believe it's origins spring from the Sharrow Bay on the banks of Lake Ullswater.
The very first time I tasted Sticky Toffee Pudding was when we were up in cumbria on holiday, and let me tell you . . . I was hooked at first bite! We bought one of the Cartmel Village Shops sticky toffee puddings at a service station on the M6 and brought it back to our holiday cottage. That night I served it up after our tea , all hot and sticky and smelling wonderfully of treacle and brown sugar, all slathered with lashings of double cream . . . I was in heaven . . . so much so that, in fact, I had Todd driving me back to that shop every couple of days the whole rest of the time we were there, just so that I could treat myself to some more!!
Upon returning home I just had to search out a recipe for it myself and I believe I have managed to find one that is equally as good if not better than the Cartmel one we had on holidays. Homemade is always better right? Right!!
Just wait til you get stuck in to this delicious pudding . . . you'll be hooked too. I'd stake my life on it . . .
*Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake*
Serves 6 to 8 (or 4 if you are like me and a bit greedy)
75g soft butter (1/3 cup)
175g dark brown demerara sugar (14 TBS)
200g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting (1 1/2 cups)
1 TBS golden syrup
2 TBS dark treacle
(if you can't get either of these, substitute with
3 TBS light molasses)
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
200g pitted dried dates, chopped (1 1/3 cup chopped)
1 TBS baking soda
For the Toffee Sauce:
100g soft light brown sugar (8 TBS)
100g butter (7 TBS)
200ml double cream ( scant 7 fluid ounces)
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Grease a 9 1/2 inch round or square baking tin thoroughly with 25g of the butter, then dust lightly with flour, tapping out any excess.
Place the remaining butter into a bowl and cream it together with the sugar with an electric mixer. Slowly beat in the golden syrup, treacle, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Turn down to a slow speed and beat in the flour until totally combined.
Place the dates in a saucepan with 300ml of water. Bring to the boil. Cook for several minutes until the dates have softened and the mixture is thickened. Stir in the baking soda while still hot and then quickly add this mixture to the batter mixture. Combine quickly and completely and spread it into the prepared tin. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is just firm to the top. Don't over cook.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool to warm.
To make the sauce, melt the butter and sugar together in a small pan. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Pour half of the hot sauce over the warm cake, allowing it to soak in somewhat.
Serve the cake cut into squares with the rest of the sauce spooned over and don't forget the lashings of double cream!!