Eat the week: sticky toffee crème brûlées

This recipe is combination of two classics and makes plenty of sticky toffee pudding, so there’s plenty left over to indulge in.
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Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 1 hr 40 mins
Serves: 6 (with leftovers)
Sticky toffee pudding:
* 100g dark muscovado (brown) sugar
* 165g self-raising (self-rising) flour
* 125ml whole milk
* 1 large egg
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 50g unsalted butter, melted
* 300g dates, roughly chopped
Sticky toffee pudding:
* 200g dark muscovado (brown) sugar
* 25g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
* 500ml boiling water
Crème brûlée:
* 900ml thick double cream
* 1 vanilla pod (bean), split and seeds scraped
* 9 egg yolks
* 45g caster (superfine) sugar
* 3 tbsp demerara (brown) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). In a bowl, combine all the sticky toffee sponge ingredients, then pour into a deep greased or non-stick rectangular baking tin (about 30 x 20 cm/12 x 8 in).

2. For the sticky toffee sauce, scatter the sugar over the sponge mixture, along with the cubes of butter, then pour over the boiling water.

3. Cook in the oven for around 40–50 minutes. You’ll be left with a gooey, sweet and sticky toffee pudding. Let this cool and it’s ready to use as the surprise centre of your crème brûlée.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F/gas mark 2) and place six small ramekins in a roasting tin.
5. For the crème brûlée, pour the cream into a small, heavy-based pan and add the vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to the boil over a medium–low heat – as soon as it starts to bubble, take it off the heat and remove the vanilla pod.

6. In a heatproof bowl or jug, mix the egg yolks and caster sugar until just combined then pour in the cream, stirring well to mix.
7. Divide the sticky toffee pudding between the ramekins: aim for a generous teaspoonful, along with a bit of the sauce, then pour in the cream and egg yolk mixture until it completely covers the sticky toffee pudding.

8. Place the ramekins in a roasting tin or baking dish tin, then pour in enough cold water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins.

9. Bake for about 40 minutes until the custard has set – it should only wobble a little when given a gentle shake. Allow to cool, then chill until ready to eat.
10. Before serving, sprinkle the tops of the cold crème brûlées with demerara sugar and caramelise the tops with a kitchen blowtorch or under a hot grill (broiler).

More from Eat the week:  Extracted from Eat the week by Anna Barnett (Murdoch Books). Photography: Alan Benson

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