Easy Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding - served

The finished product – not a hint of date-flavor, just sweet, caramel goodness.

When Downton Abbey was ending, we decided to have a full-blown English dinner in honor of the TV show. My husband is English so he was happy to have an excuse to make Yorkshire pudding, a roast, brussels sprouts – the whole nine (extremely proper) yards. My contribution was to make dessert. I came across a recipe for English Sticky Toffee Pudding that was pretty involved, requiring a lot of chopping,  mixing bowls, wax paper and what-not. I try to avoid using more equipment than needed whenever I can by calling on my food processor instead. So here’s my adapted, so-much-easier version of Toffee Pudding.

Easy Toffee Pudding

Ingredients, grouped by the order in which you’ll use them:

3/4 cup pitted dates
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg

1 cup plus 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

Toffee Sauce: 
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup lightly-packed light brown sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream to make whipped cream but the dessert is sweet enough without it.

1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the dates until they are chopped. Remove them, placing them in a small bowl, adding the boiling water and baking powder. Let that sit while you work on the rest.

2. Add the butter, sugar and egg to the processor and mix until it’s all creamed. To that, add the remaining ingredients (except those for the Toffee Sauce).

3. Add back in the date/water/baking soda mixture and mix again until everything is thoroughly combined.

Sticky Toffee Pudding - raw

This is what the batter looks like before you bake it and before it becomes something really wonderful.

4. Butter a baking dish that’s approximately 10 inches across (round or square, doesn’t matter). Bake at 350 degrees until the pudding is set and firm on top which takes about 35 minutes. When it’s done, set the dish on a raised cooling rack while you prepare the Toffee Sauce.

5. Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small but heavy saucepan. Heat it to boiling, stirring constantly. Keep it boilng over a medium-low heat as it thickens which will take 6-8 minutes.

6. Spoon the pudding into dishes and ladle the Toffee Sauce over the top. Allow everything to cool a few minutes before eating (especially before giving to kids) because the sauce can be very hot. Note, some recipes I saw called for spooning a little sauce over the top of the pudding and broiling it and then serving it with more sauce. I skipped this step but you may want to try it.




Easy Dessert – Nutella Torte

One night, I was feeling super-ambitious and decided I was going to make crepes. What’s more, I was going to spread Nutella on them and have a little bit of heaven on a plate. As I made the crepes (which were a whole lot easier than I thought they’d be) and was stacking them between layers of wax paper, I realized that the stack looked like a multi-layered cake. That gave me the idea of spreading a thin layer of Nutella between each crepe to make a torte.

Nutella Torte - Slice

It looks like it took a very long time but this dessert comes together in about 15 minutes and requires no baking.

The family was so impressed by this pretty dessert that I decided to keep it in my repertoire of desserts to pull together in a pinch, but that look like I gave a lot of thought, time and attention to. Now it’s our little secret!

Don’t Tell Them It Was This Easy Nutella Torte

1 1/2 cups flour
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 TBS butter

1 jar Nutella hazelnut spread at room temperature
Berries, Sliced fruit, toasted nuts (optional)

Variations: Nutella and jam flavor of choice or orange marmalade, alternating layers of chocolate and jam/marmalade.

For the crepes, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Beat the eggs and milk until well-mixed and add to dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Melt 1/2 tsp butter in preheated (medium high) crepe pan or flat-bottomed thick pan. Pour 1/4 cup batter in the pan, swirling it quickly to evenly spread the batter around. (Note – it you are using a pan that is more than 8 inches, be careful how much you spread it. Without the limitations of the size of the pan, you could get unevenly-sized crepes which would mess with the look of a layer cake.)

Cook crepes one minute on each side. Immediately place each one on the serving plate, spreading it with the Nutella, not quite to the edge. Make the next crepe and place it on top of the other one, again spreading the Nutella. Repeat, layer after layer. While it’s helpful to have one person make the crepes while the other spreads Nutella, it isn’t necessary. Just move fast!

Nutella Torte - making

A torte in the making, layer by layer. The Nutella spreads beautifully over the warm crepes. Don’t extend the spread to the edges because, as the warm layers build, it will spread out a little more.

Finish off the top crepe with more Nutella or leave that off and dust with powdered sugar. Because this is so sweet, a pretty and nice foil is fruit, such as Clementine slices or berries. Toasted hazelnuts would also be delicious and add texture. Because the crepes are somewhat bland, think of them as a blank canvas between which you layer whatever sounds good!

Use a sharp knife to cut torte wedges like you would a layer cake. If you knife isn’t sharp though, it will just press down and make everything squish and slide – not pretty! The torte is even better the next day and is even good chilled.