Mark McEwan’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

5 Apr

Sticky Toffee Pudding. It tastes good from the trolley in a plane; it tastes good boiled for hours in a can; it tastes good in a school canteen–even after dried-up Shepherd’s Pie.  Warm cake and syrup. How do you improve on that?

Today, I’m in Mark McEwan’s kitchen to find out. As pastry chef Kadie MacDougal takes us through the steps, the new head judge of Top Chef Canada shares tips for this twist on his mother’s Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe.

Mark’s tip #1: If you’re offering this at a dinner party, make it the day before so you only have to steam it before serving. That way you can enjoy your guests’ company. To steam: wrap the pudding in a moist towel and put it in the oven at a low heat.

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) pitted Medjool dates
3/4 cups (175 mL) chestnut puree
1/4 cup (50 mL) brandy
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) cool butter
2 eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg

1/2 lb (250 g) butter
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) 35% cream
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1/4 cup (50 mL) brandy

Add thinly sliced oranges and an apricot glaze for a spectacular finish.

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8 1/2-inch (22 cm) springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine the dates, chestnut puree, brandy and baking soda in a bowl. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water. Cover and steep.

Mark’s tip #2: Leaving these ingredients to sit for a good ten minutes allows the flavours to combine.

3. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat at low speed until combined. Add one egg, and once that is incorporated add the second. Add and incorporate the steeped date mixture. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and add that too.

Mark’s tip #3: Don’t worry about this mixture looking lumpy, the texture of the pudding is better if you don’t overmix.

4. Turn off the mixer and fold in any unincorporated dry components by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the centre is firm to the touch–60 to 75 minutes. Let cool slightly.

6. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Combine the butter, sugar and cream in the sauepan, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Fold in the vanilla and brandy.

7. Puncture the surface of the warm cake all over with a chopstick or skewer. pour half the sauce over the cake and let it be absorbed. Use the remaining sauce to pour over individual servings. Serve warm with coffee or cognac.

Mark’s Tip #4: Make a glaze with apricot jam and boiling water, slice oranges thinly and stick them onto the pudding with the glaze. Start on the sides, then work your way into the centre, and make sure there’s not too much overlap. Brush orange slices with glaze again, once they’re in place,  for a beautiful finish.

You can find this recipe in Great Food at Home, by Mark McEwan, Penguin Canada. If you try it, let me know how you get on!

6 Responses to “Mark McEwan’s Sticky Toffee Pudding”

  1. Laurie Hamilton April 11th, 2011 at 3:49 PM #

    Can’t wait to make the pudding, sounds so yummy!

    • Valerie Howes April 12th, 2011 at 10:49 AM #

      Let us know how you get on!

  2. Charmaine Bergman April 13th, 2011 at 2:27 PM #

    Hmm. I love sticky Toffee pudding!! However great this recipe is…I live in the prairies….slab dab in the middle of Saskatchewan. Heah guys getting good soya sauce, etc. is difficult, where am I to find chestnut puree or chestnuts TO puree? Is there something else one can use? I have tried one recipe, but it was too cake like. I want to make “the real deal”. Thanks

  3. Joyce Frank April 18th, 2011 at 7:40 PM #

    I live in Saskatchewan too! Rural Saskatchewan! Same problem here! Where do we find the special ingredients?

  4. Valerie Howes April 20th, 2011 at 9:52 AM #

    Hi Joyce and Charmaine,

    Thanks for your comments. I’ve sent a note to Mark McEwan and Kadie MacDougal asking about substitutions. I’ll let you know as soon as I have an answer for you.



    • Valerie Howes April 21st, 2011 at 9:28 AM #

      I got this response to pass on from McEwan’s Fine Foods:
      “Chinese and Korean food stores usually carry chestnut puree, however, if that is not an option, boiling chestnuts, then adding a small amount of olive oil and…for lack of a better word, mashing them or pureeing them until they become a consistancy of paste will also work.
      I hope that helps a little bit!”

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