Sticky Toffee and Earl Grey Pudding

Sticky Toffee and Earl Grey Pudding
Photo Credit: Victor Protasio, Food&Wine Magazine, 2019.

 

This classic English dessert features dates which are often found in regular in sticky toffee pudding recipes. In this recipe, Medjool dates are steeped in Earl Grey tea, infusing them with the bright, aromatic lift of bergamot. It is the perfect dessert to serve at the end of a meal.

Adapted From
Merlin Labron-Johnson
Food&Wine Magazine
February, 2019

Serves 9

Ingredients:
2 cups pitted Medjool dates, finely chopped
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, divided
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup light muscovado sugar, divided
3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 cup heavy cream
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Fresh Sprint Sprigs, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place dates, tea bags, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups boiling water, and let stand 15 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir mixture with a fork to break apart dates.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine shortening, 1/4 cup light muscovado sugar, and 1/4 cup dark muscovado sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer running on low speed, gradually add flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in date mixture. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of pudding comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes.

Remove pudding from oven, and immediately prick all over with a wooden or metal skewer, piercing all the way to the bottom of pan. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm toffee sauce evenly over pudding, and let stand until sauce is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Cut warm pudding into 9 (3-inch) squares.

Top servings with ice cream  and  drizzle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup toffee sauce. For a festive touch, garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.

Cook’s Notes:
Muscovado sugar is an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane. It comes in varieties from very dark to light. The main difference between muscovado sugar and granulated sugars is the moisture content. Muscovado sugar is noticeably moister, and the crystals stick together in clumps. It has a taste similar to fudge or caramel.

Dark or light brown sugar or granulated sugar with molasses or treacle can be used as substitutes for muscovado sugar. For 1 cup of dark muscovado sugar, use 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses or treacle. For light muscovado sugar, reduce the molasses to 1 tablespoon.

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Upside Down Blood Orange and Kumquat Pineapple Cake

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Brightened up your winter diet with seasonal citrus fruit season, And nothing has more flair than a blood orange. The sweet, sour, tangy and unbelievably bright blood orange is bursting with juicy flavor that is reminiscent of an orange, tangerine and lemon, all they while drenched in its own crimson uniqueness. This cake definitely lets the orange’s ruby flesh shine. We also kumquats. And the hidden surprise of pineapple to the batter. The result is a festive fruit dessert guaranteed to lift even the worst winter doldrums.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
3 blood oranges, thinly sliced
1 dozen kumquats, thinly sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup  water
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
Zest of one lemon, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).

Liberally spray the cake pan and line the pan with parchment paper.

To make the candied citrus fruits by whisking together the sugar and water in a large sauce pan. Heat on medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Gently add the sliced oranges and kumquats and simmer on low heat for an additional 3 minutes and then remove from the heat.

Layer the cake pan with the slices covering the entire bottom of the pan and gently pour ½ cup of the remaining syrup over the slices.

To make the cake batter, prepare your wet and dry ingredients. In a large bowl,whisk the dry ingredients, the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cardamom together until well combined. in a second bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, the butter, olive oil,eggs and pineapple until combined into a homogeneous mixture, about 2 minutes. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients only until just combine, do not over mix.

Pour the batter into pan over the citrus fruit. Transfer to oven and bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife along pan’s edges to loosen it; invert onto a platter, remove the parchment paper. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with lemon zest, if desired.

 

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Heart-Shaped Red Velvet and Cheesecake Puff Pastries

hearts puffed

Photo Credit: The Classic Catering People, 2017.

For me, cooking and baking is a true expression of love. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner I can’t think of a better way to express love by treating the special people in my life with this delightful scrumptious dessert.

Adapted from
The Classic Catering People
January 31, 2017

Makes 2 Pastries

Ingredients:
For the Red Velvet Filling:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4  commercially prepared red velvet cupcakes, without icing
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg yolk

For the Cheesecake Filling:
1 1/2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces sour cream

Confectioners sugar, optional

Special Equipment:
Heart-shaped cookie cutters
Pastry bag with plain tip (#3 or #4 tip)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 365 º F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add sour cream; mix until combined.
Fill a pastry bag with the cream cheese filling and set aside.

Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut 4 heart pieces out of the   puff pastry, to have a top and bottom for each heart.Layer half of graham cracker crumbs in a heart shape on top of the puff pastry, keeping it away from the edges.

Pipe a layer of cheesecake in a zigzag pattern on top of the graham cracker crumbs.

Crumble the red velvet cupcakes and sprinkle some on top of the cheesecake layer, covering the cheesecake as much as possible.

Pipe another layer of cheesecake filling on top of the red velvet cake, making sure to stay away from edges.

Place a puff pastry heart on top of the layers; line it up to meet the edges of the bottom heart. Using the same cookie cutter push down to cut the edges off the heart and seal the pastry together.

Brush the pastries with the egg yolk wash. Place the pastries on the prepared cookie sheet and place in the oven and bake until golden brown, turning over once.

Remove from the oven. Dust with a little confectioners sugar and serve with coffee, if desired.

 

Cook’s Notes:

If you prefer to bake a red velvet cake from scratch, please click here for the link to a great recipes. 

If you are using frozen commercially prepared puff pastry sheets, be sure to thaw them according to the directions on the package.

Substitutes for pastry bags
Plastic Sandwich Bag:Plastic sandwich bags are a popular substitute for pastry bags. They are useful because they are disposable, most homes have them and they are easy to handle. You can use zip-top bags, slider-tip bags or simple sandwich bags that have a fold-over top. Simply put the frosting in the bag and push it to one corner. Twist the top of the bag shut and place one hand at the back of the frosting. Snip the tip of the corner with a pair of scissors and begin piping. Begin with a small cut and gradually adjust if you want your pipes bigger. You can also snip the corner and place a metal pastry piper into the bag before you put the frosting in so that you can make designs.

Paper:You can use parchment, greaseproof or waxed paper to make a pastry bag. Simply cut the paper into a square. Then, fold it into a triangle by bringing one corner to the opposite corner. Roll the triangle into a cone so that the point will be where the frosting comes out. Tape the cone together. Add a metal piping tool and then the frosting. Fold the top of the bag down and begin piping. Paper is a popular substitute for pastry bags because most kitchens will have some variety of glossy paper.