Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Toffee-Pear Sticky Pudding

Yesterday we ate Caramel Pear Scones for breakfast (recipe coming soon) and leftover Sunday dinner for lunch. For dinner, my husband fried some tofu - sliced thin and fried in hot oil. He, then, made a stirfry of carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage and served it over brown rice. I made up a quick sweet and sour sauce (1/2 vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 catsup, 1/2 cup water with 2 TB cornstarch, cook until thick while whisking to prevent lumps). It was rather tasty and made enough for lunch today.
I made the Toffee-Pear Sticky Pudding on Sunday. It is a gooey sticky mess that lives up to it's name but it so tasty that you don't mind licking your fingers clean. This is not a finger food, however.
I did forget to add the baking soda but it didn't seem to damage the final dish. It might have been lighter than the dense goo I got but I don't really care. I know a gooey dish might not sound appealing but think of it as a sweet sticky caramel - it's a lot like that. I used slightly more dates since my package was about 1 1/2 cups and I didn't feel like having to return it to the cupboard. I used basic chopped dates from Walmart. I never peel my pears either which works for this because they were so soft that the peel gave them some structure. Also since I have stopped buying brown sugar - I use white sugar with molasses (which is basically brown sugar). I like the molasses flavor and think it really added a richness to this dish. For the sauce I used 1 cup chopped pears and whole milk instead of cream.
Oh and as I re-read this I realize that I stopped reading the instructions too early. I didn't prick the pudding nor did I return it to the oven to bake in the topping. (opps!)
I did change the method for the sauce - I melted the 1/2 cup butter (nucoa in our case), added my chopped pears and stirred for a moment before continuing on with the sauce recipe. My pears were not pretty enough to make them more garnish-like so I just dumped them in. I did follow the rest of the instructions.

Toffee-Pear Sticky Pudding
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups pitted whole dates, preferably Medjool dates
1 cup chopped peeled fresh pears
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Toffee-Pear Sauce
In a large saucepan combine the water, dates, and pears. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, covered, about 15 minutes or until fruit is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Mash with a potato masher, fork, or immersion blender until as smooth as possible. Stir in baking soda; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and nutmeg; set aside. In a large bowl combine brown sugar and butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Stir in date-pear mixture. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Place pan on a wire rack. Immediately use a long skewer to prick top of cake all over. Spoon the portion of Toffee-Pear Sauce without pears over cake. Bake for 3 minutes more. Cool on the wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm with the portion of Toffee-Pear Sauce with pears.

Toffee-Pear Sauce
1 fresh pear
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Peel and core pear; thinly slice pear. In a medium skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add pear slices; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, turning pear slices occasionally and reducing heat to low if pear browns too quickly. Set aside. In a small saucepan melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Carefully stir in whipping cream. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Divide sauce in half. Stir pear slices into one portion.

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