Tag: miso

Miso Sticky Toffee Pudding

Miso Sticky Toffee Pudding // Serious Crust
Miso Sticky Toffee Pudding // Serious Crust
Miso Sticky Toffee Pudding // Serious Crust
Miso Sticky Toffee Pudding // Serious CrustMiso Sticky Toffee Pudding // Serious Crust

Almost a year ago, there was a piece in the New York Times. I’m not sure where I found it – most likely someone posted it on Facebook – but it struck a chord. It’s called “When a Food Writer Can’t Taste,” by Marlena Spieler, a James Beard Award winning food writer. In the article, she writes about how a car accident, in which she broke both arms and sustained a concussion, completely demolished her ability to taste and smell.

Now, that sounds horrible no matter who you are. But when a food writer loses the senses that bring her the most joy and allow her to work, it’s devastating. Her descriptions of tasting what had once been some of her favorite foods are heartbreaking: “Cinnamon drops, a childhood favorite, were bitter, horrible.” “Bananas tasted like parsnips and smelled like nail polish remover.” “Gently sautéed mushrooms seemed like scorched bits of sponge.” Luckily, the nerves were only damaged, not severed, meaning that she would, in time, recover. She created her own rehabilitation plan, eating and tasting a huge range of foods, forcing herself to taste things like chocolate over and over again, starting with milk chocolate and slowly upping the cocoa content. Things she hadn’t particularly loved before – fish, especially – became a daily craving.

In the end, she recovered most of the way, and though her senses still occasionally go haywire, she can enjoy food to an incredible extent. But I’d like to focus on a specific part of this story: about halfway through the article, she tells us how, though she used to “lack a sweet tooth,” her sweet tooth now couldn’t be ignored. She lists a few things she baked, and they all sound delicious, but one jumped out at me: miso sticky toffee pudding.

When I studied abroad in London, I became a fan of sticky toffee pudding. It’s not pudding like we think of in the states. It’s a cake that is sweet but not too sweet, drenched in a warm toffee sauce that seeps into the cake, resulting in a moist, warm, absolutely fantastic dessert. Now I have looked for a recipe for Spieler’s mystical dish, and I am not the only one. The day after the article was published, someone tweeted at Spieler asking for the recipe. There’s a Chowhound thread asking if the recipe can be found anywhere (yes, I commented). But I couldn’t find it, and it seems, neither could anyone else. There are recipes for miso toffee, and for sticky toffee pudding with miso ice cream, but not this exact dessert. So, after talking with my baker friend Caitlyn, we decided to make one ourselves.

We decided to adapt David Lebovitz’s sticky toffee pudding recipe, and really, there were only a couple simple changes to be made. (In retrospect, I should’ve used Spieler’s sticky toffee pudding recipe, but I never happened upon it until I was sitting down to write this.) The resulting dessert is sweet, salty, caramelized, strong, and unique. Its flavors are perhaps a bit confusing at first, but I think the way they swirl around your tongue, combining to create a balance of sweet and savory is a fun adventure.

Miso Sticky Toffee Pudding

Note: I have made this recipe now with both red and white miso paste. While I personally liked the white miso better, Caitlyn, Jonah, and Caitlyn’s boyfriend Dylan liked the red. On one hand, I think the deeper, more caramelized flavor of the red miso was nice, and on the other, the white provided a little more brightness, while bringing the same level of saltiness. Both are good, so it’s up to you which you use.

Ingredients

Toffee Sauce

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup muscovado sugar (if you don’t have that, demerera or dark brown sugar will do)
2 1/2 Tbl molasses (we used Blackstrap)
2-3 tsp miso paste (start with two teaspoons, and add up to another teaspoon to taste)
1-2 Tbl toasted sesame seeds

Pudding

6 ounces pitted dates, snipped into small pieces
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt, preferably fine
4 Tbl unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
toasted sesame seeds, to serve

Instructions

Toffee Sauce

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and butter an 8 1/2 inch porcelain soufflé dish, or something of a similar size.

In a medium sized saucepan, bring the cream, muscovado sugar (or other dark brown sugar), molasses, and miso to a boil, stirring often to melt the sugar, and keeping a close eye to make sure it doesn’t burn. Lower the heat and let simmer for about five minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened and coats the spoon. Try your best to break up any chunks of miso. Pour roughly half the sauce into your buttered baking dish, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the toffee sauce, and place the dish in the freezer. Set the pan with the rest of the sauce aside for serving.

Pudding

In another medium saucepan, bring the dates and water to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and ginger. Set aside, but keep slightly warm – leaving it on low heat isn’t a terrible idea.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl (you can use an electric mixer), cream together the butter and granulated sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla, stirring to combine. Add half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, and then add the rest of the flour mixture, stirring between each addition. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.

Remove the baking dish from the freezer and pour the batter in over the toffee and sesame seeds. Bake for 50 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Allow it to cool slightly before serving. To serve, warm the toffee sauce, spoon portions of the pudding onto plates or bowls, and top with the warm toffee sauce and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream will make a nice topping. I’ve also topped mine with some homemade anise-cardamom ice cream (based on the anise ice cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop).

According to Lebovitz, if you’re making the pudding in advance of serving, bake it without the toffee in the bottom of the dish. Close to serving time, poke the cake about 15 times with a chopstick or skewer, and distribute half the toffee sauce over the top. Cover with foil, warm in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes, and then follow the serving instructions above.

Weekend Finds 10:18:14

It’s been a little while since I did any weekend finds, hasn’t it? I figured I’d give you some posts you could sink your teeth into. But hey, sometimes you can sink your teeth into a list of cool stuff I found, right? Right. Halloween is around the corner (like, wow, two weeks away already). And that, to me, means that we are in the thick of fall, which in turn means we should be making all things squash. I have my old go to’s (like tofu and delicata with miso and molasses, root veggies with miso and harissa) but it’s always fun discovering new ones. Here are some I’m itching to try.

1. Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffin // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Pumpkin muffins topped with whipped cream cheese on Food52

I’m not sure what about these pumpkin muffins makes me feel like they’ll be different from pumpkin muffins I’ve made in the past – maybe it’s the face that they’re topped with whipped cream cheese? Yeah, that could be it.

2. Butternut Squash Pie

Butternut Squash Pie // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
This Italian butternut squash dessert looks so good.

This Italian dessert sounds beautiful – somewhere between a custard and a pie and sprinkled with almonds.

3. Squash with Dates and Thyme

Squash with Dates and Thyme // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Caramelized squash, warm soft dates, and aromatic thyme.

I love me some roasted squash, and acorn has become a recent favorite of mine. This acorn squash tossed with coconut oil and roasted with dates sounds perfect – I love the thought of the sweetness from the dates. I would throw the thyme in to roast with the squash, and maybe add a sprinkle of cayenne.

4. Potato Miso Tart and Braised Cabbage

Ottolenghi's Potato Miso Tart and Braised Cabbage // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Has Ottolenghi ever led you astray? I thought not.

Ok, neither of these are squash. But both of these recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi seem like beautiful fall dishes. The braised cabbage seems like it would make a particularly wonderful Thanksgiving side dish.

5. Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake

Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Perhaps my favorite Mexican dessert, but with a fall spin.

And for dessert, this spin on a classic Mexican tres leches cake – with pumpkin! It’s a rich, fun dessert, especially for perhaps a Halloween/Day of the Dead party.

Banana Bread with Miso and Ginger

Banana Bread with Miso and Ginger // Serious CrustBanana Bread with Miso and Ginger // Serious Crust

I heard people were getting worried. In the week before I posted the recap of Feast last week, at least two people said to me, “I was looking at your blog, and noticed you haven’t posted in a month! Is everything ok?” Which at least means they hopefully like coming over to this little corner of the internet. Mostly though, it has just been a wildly busy month. But hopefully things are calming down a little bit, and as we settle into fall, I can get back to more cooking and writing.

A few weeks ago we cleaned out our freezer to make room for a giant tub of Salt & Straw ice cream, and discovered that we had so many frozen bananas. You know, every time a banana or two gets overripe, you throw it in the freezer, thinking “Oh, I’ll use it soon.” But you always forget. Anyway, I saw this pile of bananas and thought to myself, ok, the time has come. But of course I didn’t want to make just a traditional banana bread. So I took a standard banana bread recipe from Food52 and added a couple things: miso and crystallized ginger.

If you’ve never baked with crystallized ginger before, I highly recommend it. My family likes to put it in apple pie at Thanksgiving. It lends a nice bit of spiciness, and makes you feel a little bit healthy about whatever baked good you’re eating. What is it about ginger that makes everything it’s in seem healthy? How misleading. In this bread, you’ll find little zings of it as you munch on this moist quick bread, a perfect combination of sweet and savory (thanks to the miso).

Banana Bread with Miso and Ginger

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

3 large or 4 small ripe bananas
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbl butter, melted and cooled
4 tsp white miso (optional)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan (5×9 inches).

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Add the egg and sugar, stir to combine, then add the butter and miso. Mix until thoroughly combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In two additions, fold the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix. Gently fold in the crystallized ginger. Pour into loaf pan.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick (or wooden skewer, which is what I had on hand) inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for ~5 minutes in the pan, then remove onto a cooling rack. This bread is best served warm and fresh. If you’ve got some leftover, store in the fridge for best second-day results.

Weekend Finds 7:20:14

It has been HOT in Portland, you guys. I’m talking like 90 degrees, humid, blech. The kind of hot that just makes you want to dip your toes in a fountain, drink milkshakes, and take a nap in the afternoon with the fan blowing full force. When it’s this hot, it officially becomes salad season. Here are some weekend finds to help deal with the heat.

1. Gazpacho

Gazpacho Season // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Ooh I could go for a cup of gazpacho right about now.

Jonah claims he doesn’t like gazpacho, but I’m convinced I can change his mind if I find the perfect recipe. I haven’t committed to one yet, but I’m determined to make some this week, before it cools off too much. I’ve been looking at recipes like this, this, and this. Let me know in the comments if you have a great gazpacho recipe.

2. Tomato, Corn, Cucumber Salad

Corn, Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta Salad // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Doesn’t that look just like the definition of summer?

Earlier this week, we needed a quick, crunchy, cold dinner before we went to play a show. I picked up some corn, grape tomatoes, and feta on the way home, we sliced it all up, added some cucumber, and voila, dinner (via this recipe). Then last night we went over to a friend’s house for salad night and we pulled out the leftovers, threw them on top of some spinach, added some chickpeas and a tahini dressing (this one minus the ginger and garlic, plus a little more vinegar). It was filling and refreshing and really delicious.

3. Crispy Tofu with Sriracha Honey Lime Sauce

Crispy Tofu with Sriracha Honey Lime Sauce from I Am a Food Blog // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Beautiful tofu from I Am a Food Blog

On the nights it isn’t so hot, we cook things like this crispy tofu with sriracha lime honey sauce from I Am a Food Blog. I think this might be my new favorite way to make tofu. Be warned though, that sauce is spicy. (I like eating spicy things when it’s hot out – why not be hot on the inside and the outside?) Also, if you don’t know about I Am a Food Blog, you should. Go to her site and poke around. Everything we’ve made from her has been awesome.

4. Cleaning out your spice drawer

Cleaning out the Spice Drawer // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Look at how organized that spice drawer is. I want that in my life.

We are re-signing our lease, and that means we are doing a massive cleaning of our house. We’ve probably cleaned out our spice drawer(s) multiple times since living here, but it can’t hurt to do it again. It’s important to know how long you can keep things before they lose their punch. This guide from The Kitchn is a great help.

5. Miso Quinoa Pilaf with Eggplant and Cucumber!

Miso Quinoa Pilaf from Food52 // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Plus this quinoa pilaf features one of my favorite flavors ever: miso!

I don’t usually like quinoa. I find that it tends to be underseasoned/underdressed, and as a result is awfully bland. But my roommate is slowly changing my mind… We made dinner together a few weeks ago from some leftover, and we made this really delicious quinoa bowl with roasted vegetables. Anyway, point is, I’d like to try to eat more quinoa, and this miso quinoa pilaf looks like a great place to start.