November 30, 2007

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Two Tries

A few weeks ago, I went to another Novel Cuisine class at Kitchen Conservatory; this one was for Tom Schlafly's book A New Religion in Mecca: Memoir of a Renegade Brewery in St. Louis. The author himself was there, and Anne made foods inspired by the menu at the Tap Room, Schlafly's brew pub. I was there mainly to see how their signature dessert, sticky toffee pudding, is made.

When you get the dessert at the restaurant, it's dark, thick, and moist. K.C.'s version was light and cakey. Apparently, the key is to chop the dates (Dates! Who knew!) in a food processor...it's what, I guessed, gave the pudding its dense, rich texture.

At home last weekend, I followed the Tap Room's recipe for the cake exactly. Still, what came out of my oven was more like a cake than a "pudding". I topped it with K.C.'s caramel sauce recipe: 1 cup water & 1/4 cup sugar, melted until golden then whisked with 1 cup of warm cream.

This first attempt at caramel was not spectacular. For some reason, it was lumpy. Either the cream curdled or the sugar crystalized. Either way, I was really disappointed. It tasted fairly good, but it wasn't at all the same at the Tap Room's.

I had a good amount of cake left, so I took it to the winery for Ron's birthday on Wednesday. This time, I followed the Tap Room's recipe for caramel: 1 pound of dark brown sugar melted with 1 pound of butter, then whisked with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of cream.

Oh. My. God. This was it! The caramel was thick, creamy, & smooth. At the winery, we heated each piece of cake, then cut an X in the top to help the warm caramel soak in. We were very generous with the sauce. Once properly soaked, the cake becomes dark and moist...exactly like that at the Tap Room.

I was so happy...and so was everyone else. Which, let's be honest, is really all that matters when you are feeding your friends.

1 comment:

The Crazy Baker said...

A couple of points:
Sticky Toffee Pudding is an English concoction. In England dessert is called pudding. Therefore, our American conception of pudding does not apply. Pudding in England is dessert in the US.
Sticky Toffee Pudding has a toffee sauce, not a caramel sauce. Caramel is sugar cooked till it is almost burned thus getting the caramel color. Toffee sauce is what you made last.
I make hundreds of these cakes each year and sell them through thecrazybaker.com