Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Can you say 'Sticky Toffee Pudding'?

A lot of things will change for me after this week! Well, I'm trying hard not to be morose about it but I'm counting down the days before I have to withdraw from blogging duties until July, since I'll be reviewing for, and taking my licensure exam. Yeah, cue the suspense music now. I'm pretty nervous about it but really, I can't wait to probably be a "full time blogger" after my exams since I have nothing else to do-ish.

And today's my dad's birthday so I wanted to make him something that's not the run of the mill birthday cake. The funny thing is I haven't really tried a hand at baking a cake before! My dessert repertoire really consists of cupcakes and cheesecakes as of the moment, and I haven't been able to expand my skills yet.

Having said that, and because I had to work with what I had (a battered old nonstick cupcake pan), I decided to make him Sticky Toffee Pudding! I've always wanted to make it ever since I first heard of it win top honors in a contest for  a new flavor of Haagen Dasz ice cream. My version of Sticky Toffee Pudding was apparently a home run since every one enjoyed it.


Sticky toffee pudding, a British dessert, is basically a brown sugar cake filled with chopped pitted prunes bathed in a sweet - salty toffee/caramel sauce. But I got this recipe from, the web version of a popular food magazine here in the Philippines.

This recipe was practically a no-brainer. It didn't involve complicated cooking techniques, so I didn't have trouble with it. The result, for a lack of better words, blew me away. I've always loved Food for the Gods especially during the holidays and it tasted exactly like that. The cupcake was moist, with just the right amount of sweetness thanks to the brown sugar, butter and prunes (which weren't overpowering at all).


Apparently the secret to good Sticky Toffee Pudding is the sauce, and I really didn't follow the recipe that much. We have little to no options when it comes to heavy cream, so I just used Nestle cream, which is thick enough as it is, and I used a can of it since I wanted nothing to go to waste + I added a dash of honey AND what I thought was the secret ingredient: a dash of salt.

I went all generous with the sauce, practically bathing every spoonful with it. All in all, it was indulgent awesomeness.


Sticky Toffee Pudding 
Adapted from Aileen Anastacio’s recipe from 
Yield 12 small cakes Prep Time 15 minutes 
Baking Time 20 - 35 minutes
1 1/4 cups dates
1 cup boiling water
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
For the pudding sauce
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used one can/300 g Nestle Cream)
1 tsp honey
A dash of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350ºF. 
  2. In a bowl, steep dates in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes then drain. Pulse dates in a food processor until roughly chopped.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt together butter and sugar on medium heat. 
  4. Remove from heat and mix in eggs one at a time.
  5. Mix in vanilla extract and dates.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually add in to batter. Add the buttermilk, mixing until combined. 
  7. Transfer batter to a cupcake pan and bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted into one of the molds comes out clean.
  8. Make the pudding sauce: In a saucepan over low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream, stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened. Spoon over pudding. Serve individually on dessert plates with more sauce. 

Friday, April 01, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan TGIF

OK, before I say anything else, I'd like to apologize for whatever I post here right now. Even if this recipe is supposed to be light, fresh and guilt-free, well, looking at the pictures I took I realized they look....unappetizing? Tell me if I'm wrong, but I know somewhere out there you're nodding your head and saying "hell yeah".

So today's friday and after my adobo escapade, I seriously wanted to make something lighter than the usual pork fat on rice fare I usually have most of the days of the week. So I visited and the first thing I saw was a nice little picture with "Eggplant Parmesan" placed on the side. I was sold. Pfft Yeah, like I don't say that after every recipe I read. Plus, I'm semi-fasting today to observe the Lenten season, so I needed a good scapegoat to eat heartily.


It took a while for me to really put the ingredients together. The recipe called for peeling the eggplants, and so I did. After what I thought were twenty grueling minutes of figuring out where the dang peeler is and using a knife instead, I decided to just slice the damn eggplants with the skin on.

Here's my dilemma though: It's supposed to be healthy right? I thought so and it obviously is (sort of..I think) but looking back: the eggplant slices dredged in a breadcrumb and parmesan mixture were baked in a nonstick pan with olive oil in it. So technically the hot oil somehow fries the eggplants right? So is it any healthier (albeit more taxing) to bake it? I think I'll try frying it next time. There's a next time, because I'm seriously in love with this dish.


The breadcrumb-parmesan coating really came through and eating the eggplants covered with the tomato sauce really reminded me of pizza! It was savory, slightly tart and the eggplant slices were cooked perfectly - soft but not mushy. I didn't have mozzarella so I used cheddar but I think the sensory experience would reach new heights with mozzarella. But still, I loved eating it as it is. I was a light, near perfect lunch.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
serves 2 - 3
adapted from

olive oil, for baking pan
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, for topping
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
coarse salt
2 large eggplants or 3 - 4 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (2 1/2 pounds total)
6 cups store-bought chunky tomato sauce (see recipe below) or 6 cups homemade chunky tomato sauce (see recipe below)
3 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (I didn't have this so I used cheddar)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside.
  3. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water.
  4. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets.
  6. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more.
  8. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400°F.
  9. Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  10. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella. Add the sliced tomatoes to make on layer 
  11. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  12. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
To make Chunky Tomato Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.Cook 1 small diced onion and 2 minced garlic cloves, stirring frequently, until translucent, 2 to 4 minutes.Crush 2 cans whole tomatoes (28 ounces each) into pan; add 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano.Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes.
My mom had some chicken sandwich filling in the fridge, so in lieu of a white cream sauce, I used that. It was amazing and made the dish even better. I'll try to make a creamy mayo sauce next time though, so I'm pumped up for that! 


Did you like the photos? 'Cause I'm not too crazy about them but in the name of all things impromptu, uhmm...there you go.