The Canadian Food Experience Project: Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding

Here we go, my first post for the Canadian Food Experience Project! As I mentioned the other day, I decided to join the project and participate in sharing various Canadian recipes with different themes each month. It started back in June so I have a bit of catching up to do. This first recipe for pumpkin sticky toffee pudding is based on the theme “My Canadian Food Hero”.

For various reasons, I chose to adapt a pumpkin sticky toffee pudding recipe from Lynn Crawford. Way back when I actually had the chance to meet Lynn in PEI while I was attending culinary school. She just seemed so genuine. Whenever you see her on TV she is always full of life and exploding with energy and she was really no different in person. She was willing to open her heart to an aspiring culinarian and provide advice, while remaining totally open about the reality of life as a chef.

Not only does Lynn seem like a pretty down-to-earth person, she is also invested in local food, coming straight from the farmer to the plate. On her show “Pitchin’ In” she travels around to different farms where she works for a bit and then makes an amazing meal using the products she learned to grow/raise/harvest/etc. She also became the first Canadian chef to compete on Top Chef Masters. Way to represent! For all of her contributions to the Canadian food scene (and for being a really nice human being), Lynn Crawford is my Canadian Food Hero.

*Photos updated Oct. 23, 2013
 
Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding

Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding
Adapted from Lynn Crawford

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk

2 cups white sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt

dried cranberries, to garnish

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 375F. Prepare a 9″ square pan by lining it with parchment paper. In a medium to large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, eggs, canola oil and milk. Add in the dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder, salt and all of the spices). Mix until just incorporated. The batter will be thick and gloomy, for lack of a better word, but don’t be tempted to over-mix it. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

While the “pudding” (it’s really more of a cake, isn’t it?) is in the oven, you can make the caramel sauce. Put the white sugar in a pot with a splash of water. Cook it on high heat, swirling occasionally. Once the sugar dissolves the mixture will start to bubble and thicken. Watch for the bubbles to get bigger and bigger. Gradually it will start to turn colour around the outsides of the pot. Swirl it to encourage even cooking. When all of the melted sugar turns a deep golden brown, remove it from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and salt. Careful as it will bubble up furiously, to say the least. You’re adding cold-ish cream to molten hot sugar so it’s quite reactive. Initially you’re probably going to notice the sugar clump together and separate itself from the cream. Never fear, we are going to keep cooking it to melt the sugar back down. Stir with a wooden spoon and remove the pot to medium heat. Keep stirring until it forms a cohesive sauce. Look at you, you’ve made caramel sauce. Just set it aside until the pumpkin cake is ready.

Once the pumpkin cake/pudding/whatever we are choosing to call it is out of the oven, use a skewer or toothpick and poke some holes in it. I know this seems like that last thing you should do to a freshly baked cake but go crazy. All of those holes are going to help it drink up the delicious caramel sauce you just made. Pour the caramel over the top, reserving 1/2 cup to drizzle over the top when you serve it. Cut the pudding (we are officially calling it pudding now that we’ve added the caramel sauce into the equation) into 9 slices. If you are not serving the pumpkin sticky toffee pudding immediately, you can refrigerate both the pudding and the extra caramel. Just reheat both before you are ready to serve. Enjoy!

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