Recipe: Sticky toffee pudding

I write about comfort food a lot. The kind of food that feels like a hug and that’s sometimes needed after a tough day, on a cold day or when you just feel a little delicate. Comfort food for me is a lot about texture, I often want something soft or creamy, ideally with melted cheese. A creamy pasta dish fits the comfort food brief for me and so does anything with creamy mashed potatoes.

But recently I have discovered comfort food in the form of pudding too, something I actually hadn’t thought about until I made this sticky toffee pudding. I think find it comforting because it’s soft and warm and silky. It feels like a wonderfully warm hug and that is desperately needed these days, isn’t it?!

The original recipe is by baking queen Mary Berry but I have altered it a little to fit the ingredients I had at home. If you prefer to use the original recipe you’ll find it here. I also halved the recipe as I didn’t have enough butter to hand for the full batch when I first made it, but then realised that the halved recipe was the ideal size for me. It was enough for 4-6 servings which I find is plenty for such a decadent pudding.

Sticky toffee pudding, serves 4-6

Adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe.

For the cake:

50 g softened butter plus extra for greasing

87,5 g light muscovado (or light brown) sugar

1 large egg

112,5 g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup

137,5 ml whole milk

For the sauce:

50 g butter

62,5 g light muscovado (or light brown) sugar

1/2 tbsp golden syrup

150 ml double cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

To serve:

double cream

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan. Butter a shallow ovenproof dish.

Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and golden syrup into a mixing bowl. Beat using an electric whisk for about 30 seconds or until combined. Pour in the milk gradually and whisk again until smooth. Pour into the prepared dish. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until well risen and springy in the centre.

To make the sauce, put all the ingredients into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Bring to the boil, stirring for a minute.

To serve, pour half the sauce over the pudding in the baking dish. Pour the other half into a jug to serve along side the pouring cream. Eat warm.

Crab tarlets with chives, red chilli and lime

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These wonderful tartlets came about when a colleague was asking me for a recipe for a crab tartlet. I didn’t know a nice one so she used a recipe by Mary Berry that she raved about afterwards. So of course I had to try it. But for some reason I wasn’t in the mood for full on Thai flavours in the filling like the recipe suggests so I made my own filling with chives, red chilli and lime instead.

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It turned out really well. Less full on flavours, but it complemented the crab perfectly and the crab taste came through more. It’s perfect as a light lunch or a starter.

I only made two tartlets but made one full batch of the dough (for eight) as I like having pastry in the freezer. It’s just fiddly to make a small batch anyway.

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Crab tarlets with chives, red chilli and lime, makes 2 small tartlets

I made the dough using Mary Berry’s recioe while the filling is my own

Pastry (freeze what you don’t use):

175 g plain flour

1 tsp Coleman’s mustard powder

75 g butter, cut into cubes

50 g parmesan, finely grated

1 egg, beaten

Filling:

100 g crab meat

1/2 röd chilli, finely chopped 

1/2 lime, zest only

3 tbsp chopped chives

1 beaten egg

100 ml cream

salt, white pepper

Preheat the oven and a baking tray to 200C. 

Start with the dough; mix flour, butter and mustard powder in a food processor until you have crumbs. Add the egg and the parmesan and run the food processor until the dough comes together. 

Press out (or roll if you prefer) the dough into two small dishes with a fluted edge. Freeze the remaining dough. 

Mix crab meat, lime zest, chilli and chives in a bowl. Divide between the tartlets. Beat eggs and cream, season well and fill up the tartlets. 

Place the tartlets on the now hot baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the filling is set. Leave to cool a little and serve with a salad. 

White chocolate cheesecake

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The March cakes for the office were only two as some people took time off to have a longer Easter break. And since we had burgers for lunch the same day I expected some cake to be left over. But no, they went down a treat!

Especially this white chocolate cake courtesy of Mary Berry was very popular! It is not too sweet, and that is probably part of the success. That, and using good quality chocolate. There are so many bad and far too sweet versions of white chocolate in the shops. I used Green & Blacks and it was good enough to eat plain and really worked in the cheesecake too.

I decorated my cake with Easter eggs as it was the Thursday before Easter, but other choccies or some fresh berries work well too.

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White chocolate cheesecake, serves 8

Adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe.

Base:
50g butter
25g dark chocolate  
150g digestive biscuits, crushed

Filling:
300g white chocolate, broken into pieces 
400g full fat cream cheese
150 ml soured cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

To serve:
Dusting of cocoa powder 

Pre-heat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the base of a Ø 20 cm spring form cake tin with non-stick paper. Melt butter and chocolate in small saucepan over a low heat. Stir in crushed biscuits and press evenly over the base of the tin – chill in the fridge.

Break the white chocolate into a bowl and melt very gently over a pan of hot water (do not allow the chocolate to become too hot), stir occasionally with a spoon until runny and smooth.

 Whisk the cream cheese and eggs together in a large bowl until smooth, add soured cream and vanilla and whisk again until completely smooth with no lumps. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix together.

Pour in the tin and spread evenly over the chilled base. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes until firm around the edge and just set in the middle. Remove from the oven. Using a small palette knife run the knife around the edge of the tin and then allow to cool and chill. Remove the outside ring and lift base onto serving plate.