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Jon Ashton Sticky Toffee Pudding

This Decadent Dish is Rich, Gooey and Will Be the Sweetest Part of Your Week

Of all the menus aboard Crystal ships, the dessert menus are our favorites. It’s true that every element of your onboard Crystal Experience is a treat, from spa rituals and hot tub sunsets to multi-course Vintage Room dinners and champagne toasts. But dessert aboard Crystal voyages is the proverbial cherry on top of the very best moments at sea. And this week, it will be the sweetest part of your Sunday as Chef Jon Ashton brings a traditional sticky toffee pudding to the table.

Rich sponge cake sweetened with dates and orange zest, topped (soaked, really) with gooey caramel sauce is a classic English dessert, one that perfectly complements even the most elegant dinners, like those served in Waterside or many of the savory dishes Chef Jon has featured during our virtual weeks together. This week, embrace the decadence. Treat yourself and your loved ones, and plan to join us for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton this Sunday, October 11 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.

Sticky Toffee Pudding
By Chef Jon Ashton 


3 tablespoons (45 ml) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for buttering pan
18 pitted dates, chopped preferably Medjool 
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking soda 
½ cup (107 grams) packed light brown sugar 
2 large eggs, at room temperature 
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract 
Grated zest of 1 small orange
1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2 ml) kosher salt 

Caramel Sauce:

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (divided), at room temperature 
¼ cup (53 grams) sugar 
1 tablespoon (15 ml) light corn syrup 
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon (15 ml) unsalted butter 
½ teaspoon (2 ml) kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Butter an 8-inch square cake pan.

Combine the dates and water in a small saucepan and cook until the dates are softened, about 10 minutes. Mash dates with a fork or potato masher and stir in baking soda and let it cool for 15 minutes. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions.  Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix well. Scrape down the bowl. 

Sift the flour and baking powder together and add salt. With the mixer turned off, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Add the cooled date mixture and mix well until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Place a piece of paper towel in the center of a larger roasting pan and set the filled pan inside a roasting pan or. Fill the large pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Cover the large pan tightly with aluminum foil. This creates a steam method for cooking the cake. 

Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan and let the cake cool for 15 minutes in the water bath, covered. 

Whilst cake is baking, make caramel sauce. Place ½ cup of cream, sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter and salt into a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk frequently for 15-25 minutes, until the mixture turns a golden chestnut brown color. 

Add the remaining ½ cup of cream and whisk well to dissolve any lumps. Continue cooking over low heat for about 10 minutes, until deep golden brown. Remove from the heat. 

Carefully lift the cake pan from the water bath, use a knife to release the cake from the sides of the pan if necessary. Invert the cake onto a cutting board. 

Pour about half of the caramel sauce into the bottom of the pan. Using 2 large spatulas, return the cake to the pan, and pour the remaining sauce over the cake. Let the cake cool completely before serving or refrigerate for up to 3 days. 

Cut into slices and serve with any extra caramel sauce. 

Serves 6-8 

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

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Posted on September 16, 2020