WCC No. 13 or Nigella, the things I do for you...
|Sick sick *sniffle* *cough* *nose blow* *sniffle* *sneeze* *cough* *cough* *cough*|
I believe that sums up my weekend. How was yours?
I've always liked participating in sweet Sara's Weekend Cookbook Challenge and being sick wasn't going to stop me this month. Sara picked the theme of finding a recipe from a newly acquired cookbook, figuring most of us foodies more than likely received at least ONE new cookbook for Christmas. Well, at least for me, she was right. :D
I was given Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson, because I've gushed so many times over Nigella's Feast cookery book in the past. As I've said more than a few times on this lil blog o'mine, Nigella Bites did not thrill me. I had even considered taking it back and trading it for something else, like Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits (why do I find this man so very sexy??), but I ended up holding on to it hoping that I just wasn't in a true Nigella mood each time I've looked at it and that one day I'd browse again and fall in love with Nigella anew.
'kay so I am lazy and kept forgetting and now the 30 days has ran out so I can't take it back. What. Ever. :P
Well this month's WCC gave me the perfect opportunity to see if I could look beyond the hum-drumness (It's my new word. Shaddap.) of this book and find something that will just knock the damn socks off everyone who lays eyes upon my wonderful salute to Nigella. Mmm hmmm...
Yip, looks gorgeous doesn't it? Kind of like a can of wet dog food that's been inverted on a plate.. you know - the kind that has that slimy gel on the bottom? Mmm Mmm Good! *blech*
That's Nigella's Easy Sticky-Toffee Dessert, and not really a can of dog food. Honest. I knew the minute I stuck a spoon into my pudding that something had gone drastically wrong. The sauce wasn't a deep rich brown color and it definitely wasn't sticky, it was goopy and thin. I wasn't exactly sure what went wrong until I tasted it. There is nothing like a spongy brown sugar cake laying over a pool of toffee sauce whose flavor has been washed away by too! much! water! NOTHING.
So why am I wasting everyone's time looking at a nasty picture that tastes almost as good as it looks? Because, I have to admit, this was not Nigella's fault. It was mine. *sigh* You see, I didn't want to make one big pudding like her recipe suggests, I wanted to make 4 smaller puddings in my ramekins. And because I didn't alter the recipe at all and just divided it into equal amounts, I did not alter the amount of boiling water to be poured over the top of each lil pudding. I should have. Because I didn't, that extra water just washed out the flavor of the sauce completely. My bad. So, I firmly believe that this is most likely a fabulous, rich and ooey gooey dessert that deserves a chance. Do you know why I'm such a firm believer? Check this out.. go ahead, I'll wait.
*tap* *tap* *sniffle* *cough* *whistle* *tap*
Welcome back! Drooling, aren't you? Ivonne made this pudding the correct way and she was rewarded with caramelly toffee goodness. Pay attention to Ivonne's example when making this recipe! Or be a rebel like me and make it in individual portions but cut back the water by at least half.
For the cake:
scant 1/3 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1 c. plus 2 TBS. self-rising flour
1/2 c. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c. plus 2 TBS. chopped, rolled dates (I'm not fond of them so I subbed jumbo raisins instead)
For the sauce:
3/4 c. dark brown sugar, packed
Approx. 2 TBS. unsalted butter in little blobs
2 1/4 c. boiling water
Preheat oven to 375º F and butter a 1 1/2 quart capacity baking dish.
Combine the sugar with the flour in a large bowl. Pour the milk into a measuring cup, beat in the egg, vanilla and melted butter then pour this mixture over the sugar and flour, stirring - just with a wooden spoon - to combine. Fold in the dates then scrape into the prepared baking dish. Don't worry if it doesn't look very full: it will do by the time it cooks.
Sprinkle over the sugar for the sauce and dot with the butter. Pour over the boiling water (yes really!) and transfer to the oven. Set the timer for 45 minutes, though you might find the dessert needs 5 to 10 minutes more. The top of the dessert should be springy and spongy when it's cooked; underneath, the butter, dark brown sugar and boiling water will have turned into a rich, sticky sauce. Serve with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche or heavy or light cream as you wish.
Oh and if you were wondering about the title.. the things I do for Nigella? Yes well it was roughly around 3º F. yesterday with a wind chill factor of -18º. While gathering my ingredients to make this delicious dessert, I realized I had no dark brown sugar in the house. God. Rather than find something else to make, I got dressed and went out into the antarctic elements to buy dark brown sugar. While I am SICK, people. *sneeze*