Embers quickly develop into a blaze in ITV’s new drama The Great Fire. The familiar story of baker Thomas Farriner is set against a background of political turmoil, a costly war with the Dutch, fanatical Catholic assassins and a spendthrift King Charles II.
It’s a well-known fact that the Great Fire of London began on Pudding Lane. So we set ourselves our own challenge of creating a pudding recipe inspired by history. This recipe uses pecan liquid smoke made from fine smoking woods which are slowly smouldered (not burned), and the released gases are condensed and liquefied, to give that instant smoke aroma and flavour.
Liquid smoke is an intense flavour, so just a small amount transforms this pudding’s toffee sauce with a tangy outdoor smoky flavour. The pudding itself is rich in dates, vanilla and cinnamon as well as chopped pecans.
To elevate this pudding to the decadent standards of Charles II’s court, serve it with a quenelle of ice cream, a rare commodity which demonstrated wealth and status in the royal courts of Europe.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe With Pecan Liquid Smoke
For the pecan liquid smoke toffee sauce
220g double cream
150g brown sugar
75g unsalted butter, and a little extra for greasing
Pinch of salt 4 tsp pecan liquid smoke
For the sticky toffee puddings
75g dates, stoned and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml boiling water
50g unsalted butter, softened
80g golden caster sugar
80g muscovado sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of ground cinnamon
75g pecans 8 pudding basins
Ice cream (to serve), optional
1. Begin by making the sauce. Heat the cream, sugar, butter and salt in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to the boil and cook for 4 minutes until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the liquid smoke.
3. Grease the moulds and then divide half of the sauce (around 200ml) between the moulds. Place in the freezer to harden.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C/350F/Gas 4.
5. To prepare the batter, begin by soaking the dates and bicarbonate of soda in 150ml boiling water.
6. Cream together the butter, golden caster, muscovado sugar and vanilla paste. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
7. Fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Then stir in 50g of chopped pecans and the dates along with the water they have been soaking in. Combine well.
8. Take the moulds out of the freezer and fill them with the pudding batter to within 2 cm of the top of the moulds.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch.
10. To turn the puddings out onto plates, gently run a knife around the edge of each one and turn out.
11. Serve with the remaining toffee sauce, a sprinkling of chopped pecans and a quenelle of ice cream if you’re feeling especially decadent.