I love getting invited to dinner. I love meeting up with my friends. I love gossiping over lovely meals. I love getting new meal ideas and recipes. I love drinking ( well in my case now drinking non-alcoholic beers and wines).I also love making food for friends, so whenever my hubbie and I get invited for dinner I always offer to make something to bring along, whether its a starter, side or dessert.
We were invited to our friends house for dinner the other night I immediately offered my dessert making services, which was quickly, and I think gratefully accepted. I then realised that this dessert was not going to be as straight forward as it usually is. This was because as one of our party of friends has a lot of food intolerances, one of them being ….. ……………now you will have to prepare for the shock and then once you are over the shock get ready to give him lots of sympathy as I can’t imagine not having this food in my life…………………………………………………………..he is unable to eat……. the nectar of the gods…. unable to eat…. heaven in a wrapper…… unable to enjoy Easter to its full potential….. he is unable to eat Chocolate. Yup chocolate!
He is unable to eat the component of a lot or definitely most of the desserts I can make. So, I discounted my chocolate meringue, my chocolate mouse, my Guinness cake, my chocolate orange cheesecake.
Given that I’m still new to cooking, I’m not quite an incompetent cook, but I wouldn’t say I was competent, I’d probably describe myself as more ridiculously enthusiastic but lacking in some skills, so this dessert was going to be a challenge………Challenge accepted.
I immediately thought of Pies. He should be able to have pies…. right? However, he is also unable to eat orange, pears, plums, nectarines, apricots so that discounted using any of these fruits in a pie.
Strawberry Pretzel pie alla Pioneer woman! He can have strawberries so he should be able to have this… yeah … no he is also unable to have potato, corn, maize, soya and flours derived from this so no corn starch or corn syrup. Bye Bye Strawberry Pretzel Pie and Pecan Pie.
Apple pie!! He can have Apple Pie!Sorry, whilst I love apple pie and apple crumble I thought these were too boring for a dinner party. (However I will admit this was the backup plan).
I was at the point where I had all my recipe books out and was frantically flicking through them trying to find a recipe without any of the “no go” ingredients, when my hubby randomly mutters that he thinks he has seen our friend eat Sticky Toffee Pudding (well he actually said Ticky Toffee Pudding as this is what its know as in our house).
Now, I have made Ticky Toffee Pudding before using a Nigella recipe, and whilst hubby gave it the thumbs up, it wasn’t what we would call Ticky Toffee Pudding. The recipe used dark muscovado sugar making it taste like treacle however the pudding we think of should taste of toffee. This made me think that there may be differences between how the English make Ticky Toffee Pudding and how the Scottish make it. I would love to hear from someone if they know more about this. The bonus of the recipe was that it contained no ingredients that our friend was unable to eat.
So Ticky Toffee Pudding it was, however I now needed to either use the Nigella recipe and substitute Brown sugar instead of dark muscovado or find another recipe. Well, I then discovered a recipe that was apparently the original recipe written by the Chef who made Ticky Toffee Pudding first. Given that this recipe was supposed to have originated from a hotel called the Udny Arms in Aberdeenshire, and given that I am too originally from Aberdeenshire, I decided I needed to give it a go.
So I needed………….. 1/4 lb butter, 3/4lb caster sugar, 2 eggs, 1 lb Self Raising Flour, 8 oz dates, 1tsp bicarbonate soda, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 pint boiling water and also 1/2lb butter, 1lb brown sugar, 1 pint double cream for the sauce.
First, cream the 1/4 lb butter and 3/4lb caster sugar together until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Fold in all the flour. Now I attempted to fold the flour in by hand, but it was taking ages so I placed it back onto the mixer stand. It was at this point I got worried as the mixture was dry and lumpy. Anyway I went on……..
I placed the dates and bicarbonate soda in a bowl and covered with the boiling water. The recipe stated that when the water had been absorbed to then add the dates to the butter/ sugar mixture. However, the dates didn’t really absorb the water. Did the water have to be completely absorbed? I wasn’t sure, but no more water was going to be absorbed so again with trepidation I forged ahead and dumped the dates and water into the mixture and mixed until combined.
Ahhhh haaaaa ( Alan Partridge Style), the mixture obviously needed the water/ date mixture to come together. I then added this heavenly mixture to a buttered casserole dish, I had excess mixture as my dish only measured 10×7 so I added the remaining to two ramekins. I then placed the casserole dish into an oven at 180°C for 35 minutes. However I ended up cooking this for a further 15 minutes covered in tinfoil for the last 10 minutes to prevent it getting burnt. The ramekens took less time, about 25 minutes.
Then the remaining ingredients, the 1/2lb butter, 1lb butter and 1 pint of double cream are placed in a saucepan over a medium heat and brought to a boil. Yummy Yummy Yummy, do not eat straight from pan as its really really hot, so allow to cool a little.
This was all loaded up in the car ( wedged behind my seat) for the journey to our friends house, about 1 hours and 30 mins. It was really easy to forget that I had precious cargo and often drove slightly faster until hubby prompted me to slow down. I did not want caramel sauce all over my car.
I didn’t get pics of the Ticky Toffee whilst at my friends house, but we kept the Ramekins for ourselves ( cooks perks) and devoured them the next night. Delish! If you like toffee and incredibly sweet desserts this is the one for you.