Seems to me that there are two kinds of people out there. The first group are the ones who know the hot new spots, have a pulse on what's in and out when it comes to fashion and are with it enough to watch that hit TV series from the very beginning. Then there's the second group--those who for some reason or another just heard about kale! As you've probably guessed by now, I fall decidedly into the latter camp. Take for example, Mary Berry and the Great British Baking Show. Mary has been around for years and is a very prominent British baker and cookbook author and yet until recently, I'd never heard of her. Now, I'll give myself an out when it comes to Mary and blame it on cultural differences, but how on earth could I, someone who not only really likes to bake but also loves things English, not have heard of the several-seasons-long hit show until just a couple of months ago?!! How is it that my mostly non-baking sister had to introduce it to me?!!! Yikes!! Anyway, have you seen it yet? Whether you like to bake or not, both the show and Mary Berry are adorable, fun to watch and inspiring. So for this Famous Fridays, let's take a little trip across the pond and celebrate not only Mary's legacy but a classic English dessert as well: Sticky Toffee Pudding!! Tally-ho!
My daughter and I binge watched all of the seasons of the Great British Baking Show over the summer and fell in love with everything about the show, especially Mary, who is one of the two judges. Not only is she an extremely accomplished and knowledgable baker, but kind and classy too. She is so perfectly English!! On a side note, how much do you love the way the British call dessert "pudding" even when it's not?!! Years ago, when my husband and I took a 2 week driving trip through Cornwall, Wales, the Lake District and Scotland, we made sure to have some sort of pudding every night!! And some sort of scone with practically every meal! Thank god, we hiked a lot!! But somehow we never got around to trying sticky toffee pudding, so when I came across Mary's recipe for it, I knew instantly that that was what I wanted to try. And thank goodness I did, because guys, YUM!!
The pudding, or should I say cake, because that's what it really is--is wonderfully moist, easy-to-make and full of chewy chopped dates and crunchy walnuts.
Equally wonderful, actually divine, is the sticky toffee/caramel sauce that tops it. One bite and you instantly know why it's a classic! Sweet but not overly so in that deep dark brown sugar, caramel-way, you will love it! I've really got to start baking with dates more!!
So if you haven't yet, but are looking for something fun to watch and have some free time this weekend, check out The Great British Baking Show on Netflix (Mary didn't re-sign for this season but is on the earlier episodes). And once you watch and are feeling inspired, get yourself into the kitchen and bake up some British specialties...then invite me over!! Have a good weekend and I'll be back next week with more gab and goodies! Cheers!!
Mary Berry's Sticky Toffee Pudding-Famous Fridays
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes: Bake Time: 45-50 minutes
For the cake
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon coffee extract (I didn't use this)
- 1 ½ cups self-rising flour (if you don't have any in the house you can make your own by using this proportion: into 1 cup regular flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
- 1 cup pitted dried dates, roughly chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup hot water
For the toffee sauce
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. To make the cake: Place the butter, sugar, eggs, coffee extract (if using) and flour into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat the mixture until smooth and well blended. Stir in the dates, walnuts and hot water and then pour into the pan.
3. Bake 45-50 minutes until cake is browned on the top and springs back when you gently poke it with the tip of your finger.
4. To make the toffee sauce: about 10 minutes before cake is done, put the butter and sugar into a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cream and nuts and allow it to heat through.
5. When cake is done, remove from the oven and cut into squares. Transfer to serving plates or bowls and top generously with the hot toffee sauce. Serve immediately. Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and reheated in a saucepan over low heat (this would be quite yummy over ice cream too!!)
Note: Baking with Mary Berry: Cakes, Cookies, Pies and Pastries from the British Queen of Baking.