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English Sticky Toffee Pudding

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

I recently had a snow day. After getting the kids squared away with going out to play, I decided to make some English Sticky Toffee Pudding. I had been put in the mood for ESTP when I had some nice English Strong Ale from a local, new brewery that specializes in “English inspired Ales”. I had ESTP several times while in England for a vacation several years ago…it quickly became a favorite and “must have”. Well, I found a two-pack commercially available product in the grocery store…in the Britsh Stuff section. It was okay, to satisfy an immediate craving, but it wasn’t as good as I knew it could be. So, I jumped on Pinterest and read several recipes and found one I liked…one that used American measurements and ingredients. My only edits were adding a little more molasses, because I only had light brown sugar and substituting Half’n’Half for heavy cream, in the sauce.

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

(found at http://www.lafujimama.com/2012/08/sticky-toffee-pudding/ . Further credits referenced there.)

Ingredients:

Sticky Toffee Pudding ingredients

Sticky Toffee Pudding ingredients

For the cake:

6 ounces chopped and pitted dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons softened butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (or light brown and add 1 T. Molasses)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Sauce:

2 cups heavy cream (or Half’n’Half)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed (or light brown and increase molasses by 1 T.)
2 1/2 tablespoons molasses
1 pinch sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then grease an 8×8 square baking pan and line it with parchment paper.

Line your pan with parchment paper, about 10-1/2" square for an 8"x8"x2" pan

Line your pan with parchment paper, about 10-1/2″ square for an 8″x8″x2″ pan

2. Make the cake: Combine the dates and water in a sauce pan.  Bring the water to a boil, then remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the baking soda, (It will foam up…don’t let it surprise you!) then set the saucepan aside.

Dates, brought to boil, baking soda added, stirred, set aside.

Dates, brought to boil, baking soda added, stirred, set aside.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.

4. In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula a few times.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Next add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

5. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low.  Then add all of the date mixture and mix to combine. Then finish by adding the remaining half of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.

Mixing

Mixing

6. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cake is springy in the middle. (Test with cake tester or skewer…should come out clean…or almost clean. Better to be slightly underdone than over.)

Into the oven!

Into the oven!

Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and then poke holes in it with a skewer.  While the cake is cooling prepare the toffee sauce.

Poke the cake and top with sauce.

Poke the cake and top with sauce.

Toffee Sauce

Toffee Sauce

7. Make the toffee sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Let the sauce boil until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

8. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the cake and let it soak in until ready to serve.  Turn out cake onto a service plate and remove the parchment paper.

After the cake cools a bit, turn out onto service plate and remove parchment.

After the cake cools a bit, turn out onto service plate and remove parchment.

Serve in square pieces about the size of a cupcake.

Cut view

Cut view

Nap the cake with sauce on what has now become the top side. Use the rest of the sauce for serving along with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. This cake is best served warm!

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

I was very pleased with the results and I’m sure you will be too! Don’t be put off by the dates. if you just haven’t had experience with them before. They practically melt into the batter and just add a rich, sweet, caramel flavor. The little bits in the cake are pretty much indistinguishable…not like raisins or chips at all!  The only thing I may do differently in the future is look for a sauce that doesn’t use milk or cream. Technically, that would make it caramel. I know. But I seem to remember sauces more like dark caramel in England and I preferred them. I used Half’n’Half in this recipe, because I didn’t have heavy cream, but it turned out fine. I hope you’ll give it a try. Sticky toffee pudding is equally good with a nice English stout or strong ale, coffee or milk. A warm piece of Sticky Toffee Pudding on a cold day…mmm. Talk about comfort food! Drop a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top and really indulge yourself! Enjoy!!

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Stout Braised Country Style Ribs

Stout Braised Country Style Ribs

Stout Braised Country Style Ribs

For the last couple of months, I have been getting into brewing beer and fermenting cider. Recently, I was bottling a batch of beer and was in the mood to sample some stout that I bottled about a month ago. So, I put together an easy recipe for some country style pork ribs…conveniently, the recipe only needed 1/2 of the bottle of stout! Enjoy!

Stout Braised Country Style Ribs

Ingredients

3 to 3-1/2 lbs Country Style Pork Ribs

1 small Onion, sliced thin

2 cloves Garlic, chopped

6 oz stout or other dark beer (okay, you can add the whole thing, if you don’t drink the other half…but why wouldn’t you?!)

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1-1/2 cups Water

1 T. Cornstarch

Enough cold water to mix with cornstarch to blend

Directions

Heat a large, straight-sided, covered skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ride and brown on all sides. If you need to, you can add a little vegetable oil, but you will probably get enough rendered fat to not need additional oil. Add the onions and garlic and continue browning for a couple of minutes more.

Add onions and garlic

Add onions and garlic

Deglaze the pan with the beer, reduce the heat, cover and slowly simmer, covered, for about 2 hours or until fork tender, turning the meat every 1/2 hour or so.

Deglazed

Deglazed

My home brewed stout!

My home brewed stout!

Remove the meat, skim the fat off and add the 1-1/2 cups water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the cornstarch slurry. Whisk quickly to combine. Bring to a boil to thicken, while whisking. (Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a photo when the gravy was done…we were hungry and it looked so good!!!) Remove from the heat and add the meat back to the sauce. Serve hot with rice or mashed potatoes.

I used a gravy separator to remove the fat (See top photo).

I used a gravy separator to remove the fat (See top photo).

Note: You can put the browned meat and deglazed juices into a crock pot and cook, unattended for hours and hours on low. Finish back on the stove to make the sauce. Also, pork goes very well with apples. I plan on doing this recipe with hard cider, too. It will be a different, but equally delicious dish! Enjoy!

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