Monday, June 24, 2013

Upside Down Sticky Toffee Pudding with Kumquats and Salted Cashews

It is with great pleasure (and relief...sigh! and sigh!, again) that I return, after weeks of pool visits, almost drowning in dinosaur sized water slides, mall excursions, even catching up on all the villainous forces Alex Cross is trying to eliminate. It sure is a busy summer, but as promised I will step in to bring that which is noteworthy and truly outstanding. Our conversation today will focus on a perfect summer dessert, untraditionally so that is, since it be not of the cold, drippy sort. Here, I need you to open up  minds and palates to the warm and sticky (no, not weather), a sweet that is and will be an absolute song-dance-party in your mouth, not typically associated with intrepid weather, but fits in so well. Paired with cool vanilla ice cream, this is perfect and so worth the little more than half hour it takes to bring it to being, that I smile when I type in this very update. Robed with toffee and a new found love, kumquats, it is a small juicy cake, 12 to be precise, ribboned with dates and beautiful goo, a complete embodiment of all that is right. Such Enlightenment beamed through the pages of a two pound publication. 
To be precise this is the beauteous creation of David Lebowitz, you know, him of the acclaimed pastry chef/blogger/ cookbook author status, in his Ready for Dessert book.
It was his chocolate chip cookies that won over my summer kitchen help, who were of course drawn to them so much that they are now officially a part of our "best of" list. Definitely worth a share, one day, for the time being I say nay on the particular cookie posting since, I am thoroughly convinced that such action will only contribute to WWW clutter, being an nth count to the already growing number of best (!) favorite (!) chocolate chip cookies. It was while thumbing through the remaining 266 pages that Eureka(!) struck and not too far, in the form of a Kumquat Sticky Toffee Pudding. Excitement rose and for all of two reasons : (1)Always and forever, I've wanted to make  the  grandiose sticky toffee and its accompanying famed counterpart . (2)I'd never tasted a kumquat and didn't much know what it was (tsk, tsk). The orangish minis had curious me in perpetual phobic mindset- oh dear and yikes(!) what would I do with them? Though here the web was my friend goading me through the several salient features of kamkwats.  These carrying the traits of an orange, but in reverse; sweet outsides holding in tart, segmented insides. It was the trip to the neighboring grocery which made decisionmaking clear, there lie a bounty of the olive sized cuties placed strategically between the pineapples and papayas. Veni, vidi and (yes!) vici. ( high school Latin does help.) Walking home with my half pound bag of edible treasure, I was elated and didn't want this feeling interrupted.

I reopened the bookmarked pages of D.L.' s glorious book.  No halts, no bars, no holds, my toffee pudding was ready to roll. 

With the exception of those few minor adjustments, I pretty much adapted the script of perfection to a T. Molasses was probably the only opt out. Even though master recipe called for a mild-flavored version, with all consideration taken, my conclusion came to be that any form of this robust and intense syrup would not be meek or mild for my tastebuds . So, to blend in with the brown sugar, I settled on a favorable-for this-house pairing of honey/ maple syrup. I also halved the number of kumquats, not wanting their tart to cut too tremendously with a beyond- bearable stamp to the sweet nature of toffee pudding.

The presence of mashed dates tips the moistness scale from almost- cake to super plush pudding. Salted cashews was another me-option, an absolute best match for this homemade brown sugar caramel. That half cupful that went in both to cake and topping boasted another level of richness together with much  welcome crunch. The perfectly inverted kumquatted tops could easily pass these beauties on as strong contenders for a pretty pudding award. All in all, the structure was soft yet firm, standing well to the pool of buttery velvet.

This will be that new summer memory, where several blah visions of cold and iced will be eviscerated. It won't be surprising at all when you're left scraping through final remnants of caramelized crumb, and you catch yourself mixing up that next batch, fresh, all over again. Hear me out people, this will essentially be one of  your alltime favorites, a must-make now, especially  for those  late nights that include flipping through gazillion DVR recordings.

(Recipe Adapted from David Lebowitz' Kumquat Sticky Toffee Pudding)
  • 4 oz dates, pitted and diced
  • ½ c water
  • ½ tsp baking soda
Toffee Sauce~
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • ½ c dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey+ 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 10-12 kumquats, seeded and sliced
  • 1 ⅓ c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ c crushed cashews (roasted and salted)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ⅔ c sugar (granulated)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ c crushed, salted roasted cashews
  • In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring dates and water to a boil. Remove from flame and add in baking soda. Set aside for 10-15 minutes and then mash with a fork until smooth yet with chunks. Let stand.
  • For toffee sauce, bring cream, brown sugar, honey/maple syrup to boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes until mixture becomes thick and coating the spoon. After taking off heat. Let cool. 
  • Put a tablespoon of the toffee sauce into greased cups of a standard size muffin tray(remaining sauce is to be poured over the baked puddings)
  • Arrange kumquats in a pattern over the sauce ( I had 3-4 slices in each well).
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • For the cakes, sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Fork in the broken cashews.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  • Mix in eggs one by one and then vanilla.
  • Alternate by stirring in half the flour mixture, then dates, ending in flour, mixing until just combined. Divide the batter into the 12 sauce filled cups on muffin tray.
  • Bake until just set, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Once puddings are baked, remove them from the oven. Turn broiler on and invert the cakes onto a sturdy baking tray. Now the tops will be seen with the sticky sauce and kumquats facing up.
  • Bring the puddings close to one another. Spoon remaining toffee sauce over the cakes, soaking them well.
  • Once broiler is heated, put cakes in the oven, with the door slightly open. Broil until sizzling. This took me 3 minutes on hi broil. Be careful not to burn the tops.
  • Remove pudding cakes from the oven. Scrape off all toffee from sheet and spoon over each.  
  • Add broken cashews over the sauce and cakes.
  • Serve with heavy cream or ice cream.
Fun in each step- kumquats getting ready for their soak.
How about some drama? First serving seemed apt for pretty tableware. In actuality? Eaten off laps in bowls whilst licking fingers and nose. Yes , it's very possible.
"No power can stand against You
No curse assault Your throne
No one can steal Your glory
For it is Yours alone
I stand to sing Your praises
I stand to testify
For I was dead in my sin.
But now I rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him, now in Him
I live."


  1. oh goodness... aah... i'm drooling out there... i wish u could courier me a couple of them right now!!!

    1. Thank you Rafeeda. Send me your address and I just might parcel up a few through refrigerated containers :))

  2. I AM IN LOVE WITH THAT... Looks awesome

  3. You seem to be having a busy summer :-) Sounds so much fun with Kids! Wow Tisa, the pudding looks so tempting.. Yummm :-)

    1. Thank you Rekha. The pudding making and cooking actually gives me a break :))

  4. I have been seeing kumquat in the store now I know what can be made with it.I love dates and toffee part too.Yumm yummm...

    1. Thanks Meena. Yes, I never knew what to make with them either. This was one of those "first time gold" recipes, a keeper for sure :))

  5. This recipe looks heavenly :D

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. What a compliment from the master of sweets herself!

  6. Ur writing style mesmerizes me :) Felt like a journey with the ingredients :) Awesome clicks & a wonderful looking pudding !!

  7. that was a nice read, Tisa and the pudding luks soo tempting..loved the cute little fruit cuts on top..

  8. I have been to honest that I am not a dessert person but...... I can't stop admiring this lovely pudding. Its interesting to note the addition of kumquats which is so easily available over here. Its simply stunning, a recipe kept aside to be made for home gatherings.

    1. Thank you Navaneetham. Your words literally made me jump from my seat. I'm glad you have no shortage for the bite sized fruit- we don't have them as readily.

  9. sweet citrus treats, beautiful clicks...


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