I often swing back and forth on the introvert/extrovert pendulum. I enjoy sitting on my couch, in my sweatpants, watching The Bachelor (don’t start), equally as much as I like going out and being in the company of others. Could I be equally introverted AND extroverted?
Yes I can, for I am an ambivert. Turns out most of us are actually ambiverts. An area in my life I am trying to become more ambiverted is cooking, as I generally like to go at it alone. I find the cooking process, from the gathering of the ingredients, to the creating, to the eating, soothing and in a way a kind of meditation. It may just be masking my control-freakness, but I truly savor the alone time that I have in my kitchen.
The first victim in my journey to become an ambiverted cook is a fine lad I know named Yoni. Yoni hails from the UK and we met through mutual friends. We share an interest in the finer things in life, including, but not limited to: food, writing, onesies and karaoke. I asked Yoni if he could teach me how to make his speciality, sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding, like Yoni, comes from the UK and is everything you would expect it to be with a name like that, except healthier because it has dates in it (just kidding). Take it away Yoni!
A Tale of Sticky Toffee Pudding by Yoni Cohen
Having your mum teach you how to bake isn’t the way most boys growing up in Manchester spent their free time, but it’s how I spent mine. If it wasn’t for my mum, I wouldn’t have learned valuable life skills such as how to cream butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon, sift confectioners sugar perfectly to make a smooth icing, or whisk
egg whites until they form stiff glossy peaks. I hold these skills very dear to my heart because they mean that I can do something I love on a regular basis to this day – bake.
I think the main reason I started to enjoy baking was because I enjoyed eating the ingredients before, during and after the process. Give me some raw cooking chocolate or moist cake batter and I’m a very happy man.
My favorite thing to bake has to be my beloved sticky toffee pudding (or STP as I sometimes like to call it). It’s something I grew up eating, in a various different forms, and also something I learned how to bake from my mum. For me, it was always just a regular dessert found on most standard menus in any British restaurant. However, when I moved to Israel and started baking it here, I realized that anyone who didn’t grow up in the UK had never heard of it. Very quickly I found myself making it whenever I entertained at my house and soon enough I had people hooked. People just go crazy for the sticky texture and sweet taste of this classic British dessert. Now, whenever I am invited out to dinner, people expect me to come with my STP in hand, and in the event that I don’t, I’m usually met with a table full of sad faces.
The secret to a good STP is all about the dates. The dates are what gives it the deep golden brownish color. I like to buy fresh dates and chop them myself. You don’t have to go through all the hassle, but I personally find the process therapeutic and like to know that the ingredients are as fresh as possible. The sauce is also quite a big part of what makes STP so special. It’s actually quite a versatile sauce that goes with lots of things, but I think there is nothing better than hot toffee sauce poured over a fresh STP straight out of the oven. My idea of heaven!
My sticky toffee puddings are available to order. Just give me a call on 0544552160 or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
For the cake:
- 225 g fresh dates, stoned
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 90 g unsalted butter, softened
- 160 g caster sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 180 g self-raising flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons natural yogurt
For the toffee sauce:
- 115 g unsalted butter
- 115 g light muscovado sugar
- 140 ml double cream
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
- Chop the dates and place in a pan with with 200ml/7fl oz of boiling water. Boil on a high heat for five minutes, or until the dates are nice and soft. Turn off heat and add the bicarbonate of soda, mixing slightly until the fizzing dies down.
- Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar until pale using a wooden spoon, and add the eggs, flour and cinnamon. Mix together well, then fold in the yoghurt and the dates. Pour into a buttered, ovenproof dish and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
- While the pudding is cooking, make the toffee sauce by putting the butter, sugar and cream in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour. To serve, spoon out the pudding at the table and pour over the toffee sauce.