Monday, May 9, 2011

British food + American excess

Sticky toffee pudding is one of my favorite desserts. You seldom see it on the menu around here because so many American restaurants fail to see the virtue of heavy, date-based cakes sopped in cream. And yet somehow we celebrate the advent of the Oreo pizza. I just don't understand. But at any rate, I make sure to indulge in a nice sticky toffee pudding whenever I'm in any British Commonwealth nation. On my recent trip to England, I managed to eat one in every city I visited. Naturally, when I came across this recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding with Candied Bacon, I was thrilled to see that it was finally being embraced in a way that Americans can get behind. I also knew that I would have to make these treasures for myself.

This presented something of a problem. After all, I couldn't logically made a whole batch just for me. Well, I could, but I knew that would undo any positive toning acquired in three months of p90x training as all of my muscle cells would have no choice but to instantly turn to bacon grease. Luckily, my boyfriend and I had decided to have people over to show off our apartment this past weekend, providing us a captive audience of pudding eaters. I won't say which came first, the idea for the housewarming or the need to have an excuse to bake pork products into puddings. But you probably already know.

The only problem with this plan was that it wasn't really a sit down party, and everything else we were serving were proper casual party finger foods. I was not to be dissuaded though. We ended up buying plates (albeit plastic ones) expressly for the purpose of having a mid-party pudding feast. It completely clashed with all other food served (everything else was appropriately seasonal, fresh, and summery), and, weirdly, dessert was the only part of the food offerings that wasn't vegetarian. But I still maintain it was the perfect cap to the party.
These photos are from the blog that I found this recipe on, Gingerbread Bagels. I'm posting them because they're far better than any photos I took. In actuality, I took no photos. But they are, no doubt, far better than any photos I would have taken had I remembered to.

I'm not going to post the recipe, because you can no doubt follow the link I posted above if you are so inclined to indulge in some bacon sweets of your own. The only change I made is that I made the candied bacon by cooking it regularly on the stove, draining off the fat, and then caramelizing it (again on the stove) with some brown sugar. I think this was easier than doing the oven method recommended in the blog. That seems likely to lead to the brown sugar running off, burning onto the poorly chosen pan, and causing ones kitchen to be filled with smoke and the smell of burned sugar and charred bacon. Not that I speak from personal experience. But the stove-top method is easier to monitor if you're not aware of the foibles of your oven. And you won't have to worry about the tragedy of accidently ruining a half pound of bacon.


  1. You did not mention how good they were or what the guests said...
    I recently had something like this at the South African restaurant near our house. Very tasty -- but no bacon.

  2. The guests all said it was delicious! But I take that with a grain of salt, because party guests seldom tell the hostess if the food sucks. I definitely enjoyed them though!

    What you likely had was malva pudding. It's similar but with a South African flair: apricot jam instead of dates. Malva pudding was a gateway dessert for me with sticky toffee pudding.

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