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April 23, 2006

Drool Britannia! Sticky toffee pudding... ice cream


Rob:  Hey, Becks & Posh and Jam Faced are holding a St. George's Day What's For Pud event.  What's a traditional English dessert we can make?

Rachel:  What about sticky toffee pudding?  It sounds really homey and delicious and we've never tried it.  Look, it even has dates.  I love dates!

Rob (to himself):  I bet I can make ice cream out of it.

Rachel:  What did you say?

Rob:  Nothing, love.  (Under his breath) Oh, yes, there will be ice cream.  Lots of ice cream.  Mwahahahahahaha!

Rachel:  Why  am I suddenly nervous?

It's a bit of a story, really, but it all starts with a molecular gastronomy preparation: Moto's doughnut soup.   While preparing the doughnut soup, it occurred to me that I'd also essentially made an egg-free, or Philadelphia-style (aka New York- or American-style too, for that matter) ice cream base.  Unbeknownst to Rachel, I had already decided to turn our next baked dessert into an ice cream.

While researching sticky toffee pudding, I was shocked to learn just how recent an addition it is to the British culinary pantheon (no jokes, please).  I'd always assumed it dated back several centuries, but credit for the dish is most often given to Francis Coulson of the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel, who first served the dish in 1960 (for a more complete history, click here).

The recipe for sticky toffee pudding is not without its challenges for the cook uninitiated in the ways of Brit-speak.  For example, despite the fact that it uses metric measurements, the recipe calls for "1 dssp black treacle."  What the hell is a dssp?  An internet search revealed that "dssp" is the abbreviation for "imperial dessertspoon," which sounds more like an esteemed piece of Queen Victoria's silverware than the imperial equivalent of 11.8 millilitres.

To those who say that sticky toffee pudding needs no improvement and view my tinkering as gastronomic heresy, I say, "Damn right" -- at least to the "needs no improvement" part.  Rachel and I both regret waiting so long to indulge in it, because sticky toffee pudding is exceptional.  Not only do the dates add flavour, they give this dish a moist and rich texture.  The sauce was thinner than we expected, but delicious -- molasses, which was our substitution for black treacle, and demerara sugar not only contribute sweetness, they add complexity. When served hot, straight from the oven, sticky toffee pudding is the perfect dessert for a cold, wet spring day.


It's also pretty good ice cold.  Though not without its flaws, the sticky toffee pudding ice cream is excellent.  Even Rachel, who was skeptical about this experiment, thought the flavours translated really well.  The ice cream base is composed of sticky toffee pudding, milk, cream, demerara sugar, and molasses.  In order to infuse the flavour of the pudding into the base, the chunks of pudding are first steeped in cream and milk, then blended with them.  Without a chinoise to properly strain out the small particles (I only have a sieve), the finished ice cream has a slightly grainy texture and does not freeze as hard as regular ice cream.  I think increasing the ratio of dairy to pudding would also help resolve these issues.

Since I'd already gone this far, I went one step further and made the perfect accompaniment to sticky toffee pudding ice cream: Earl Grey tea ice cream.  If you've never tried it before, Earl Grey tea makes wonderful ice cream.  Rachel adores the taste of bergamot, especially in chocolate and ice cream, so this dessert is rather popular in our home.  And what's more English than tea? 

Earl Grey Ice Cream

250 ml 2% milk
250 ml 35% cream
110 grams sugar (1/2 cup)
12 grams Earl Grey tea (2 tbsp)

Combine milk, whipping cream, and sugar, and heat to 82C/180F.  Remove from heat, and add tea leaves.  Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain leaves from mixture.

Chill overnight.

Churn as per ice cream maker's instructions.

Stick Toffee Pudding Ice Cream

250 grams sticky toffee pudding
250 ml 2% milk

250 ml 35% cream
90 grams demerara sugar
15 ml molasses (1 tbsp)

Break sticky toffee pudding into small pieces, and caramelize 125 grams in a small, dry sauce pan. Add milk, cream, and sugar
and heat to 82C/180F.  Remove from heat, add remaining 125 grams of sticky toffee pudding, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and steep for 20 minutes.

Puree mixture in a blender, and run through a fine strainer.  Chill overnight.

Churn as per ice cream maker's instructions.

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Hello Rob and Rachel!

Where do I begin?! You're right, great minds do think I like and clearly sticky toffee pudding is the mark of greatness.

As usual, though, you have elevated to an entirely new level. As if your gorgeous pudding wasn't enough, I can't get over the sticky toffee pudding ice cream ... swoon!

Your post has almost cured me of the bitterness I am feeling over the fact the Leafs didn't make the playoffs. Almost. I will be fully cured once I try this recipe for myself.

My compliments to the chefs!


sniff sniff... I want an ice cream machine!


Wow - great ice cream recipes and toffee pud - I'm drooling! Beautiful pics, BTW

Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

wow, look at you 2! Amazing experiment and with what results that you made. Looks great, and with such an unusual ice cream! I think I am on a project now!


The sticky toffee pudding looks wonderful, so do the ice creams. I love that you recycled the cake to make a new dessert, bravo!

Raspberry Sour

I have been on a cooking with tea kick (mostly in head though) of late, and have already managed one tea dessert (my SHF entry). This sounds amazing- I wonder if I can pull it off without an ice cream maker.

Rachel, I hear you on the Earl Grey. I've recently discovered Russian Earl Grey- I don't think it's actually Russian, but that's the gimmick. Either way, it's earl grey with added flowers and other extras. If you ever see it, order/buy promptly.


Nice! This is actually almost identical to a pain d'epice ice-cream I learned at Ecole Lenotre except that our base was made with pain d'epice, milk, cream, and sugar. Chef said that the egg is already incorporated into the pain d'epice so no need for extra eggs in the base.

I can imagine how wonderful your ice-cream tastes!


Brilliant concept, the sticky toffee ice cream! Calling Ben & Jerry's!


How brilliant to turn sticky pudding into ice cream - I'm glad the experiment turned out so well! I'm also fond of tea infusions in desserts, so your earl grey ice cream also sounds like a hit!


Drool Britannia Indeedy! I think I vote for the warm sticky toffee pudding with the cold earl grey ice cream, but it all sounds more than good.

Thanks for taking part and pulling our British cusine bang up to date. See how far things move in 46 years!



Oooohhhh, sticky date ice-cream! I'm heading straight to the Elec Dept tomorrow to check out ice-cream machines!


Raspberry, thanks for the tip. Russian Earl Grey sounds amazing. You might enjoy a tea I've been really into lately: Mariage Freres' Marco Polo, a blend of green tea, fruit, and flowers. It smells so amazing!

Everyone, thanks for your comments. The pudding was absolutely delicious, and the STP ice cream was eye-opening -- I liked it better than the doughnut soup, to be honest. And I was skeptical at first!

Candy, I think pain d'epice ice cream would be incredible. I have a Pierre Herme recipe for pain d'epice I've been wanting to try, and you've just given me extra incentive -- as if I needed any...


Sticky Toffee Pudding is an idea of genius.


But Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream is an idea of even greater genius. I'm off to make it right now...

Bill Belew

Oh sticky toffee pudding, it brings back memories of London every time! Thanks for the memories, and the drool-worthy photo. Now I'm going to have to go spend a few hours in the kitchen figuring out how to satisfy my craving!


The food network hosted a new flavor contest with Hagen Dazs. The winner was Sticky toffee pudding ice cream. I don't think its in stores yet and everyone is looking for it.


Hagan daz had a summer ice cream special and this was the flavor that won!

queen bee

The Haagen Daz STP ice cream is so amazing. I highly recommend it. YUM! It's limited edition, which makes me prematurely devastated.


I gained five pounds in one week while eating Sticky Toffee pudding in Norwich at The Maids Head Inn. Then came back to visit London in May of this year and could not find it anywhere. I have made the recipe myself. My recipe has a hard sauce. Or a brown sugar sauce. It is a very rich dessert. I don't think it is popular in restaurants in London anymore. I saw a lot of currant cheesecake on the menu.

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