Sticky Toffee Pudding

My friend Nirina just tasted her first sticky toffee pudding (STP) today. She has been here for quite sometimes, but has not been properly introduced to the Scottish deserts.

No, wait.

Just like Malaysia and Indonesia, Scotland and England have never ending debates about everything too. And sticky toffee pudding, a moist sponge cake made with dates and covered with toffee or caramel sauce, is one of the things that both sides claim as theirs.

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The dessert’s origins are considered a “mystery” according to the gastronomic journal, Saveur; however, the dominant story is that Francis Coulson developed and served this dessert at his Sharrow Bay Country House Hotelin the Lake District in 1960.Coulson’s former protégé and chef, Juan Martin, has said that according to Coulson, the original concept for the dessert was derived from the South of England. Indeed this statement was backed up when the hotel researched the origins of sticky toffee pudding before the launch of its retail version of the pudding into national outlets such as Lakeland Limited and Harvey Nichols in 2007. However, it has also been reported that the landlady of The Gait Inn, Millington, invented it in 1907 for sale in her pub. In any case, Coulson introduced and refined the dessert to the general public, making his recipe completely accessible to all those who asked.

A final story regarding the origins of the dessert involves The Udny Arms Hotel in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire. The hotel has claimed that it invented the pudding years earlier than anyone else has been serving it, and those living in the surrounding area cite the hotel as the birthplace of the dessert.

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The Udny Arms Hotel doesn’t mention anything about STP on their website except that they are the “home of the Original Sticky Toffee Pudding.” Maybe because of their reputation, they don’t need to boast it on the website, or they just have a lousy web designer. I haven’t been to the hotel yet, but it’s definitely on my list!

Retail-wise, I usually buy STP from Rocksalt & Snails deli, as they sell Cartmel STP. Cartmel, of course, claims that their STP is original and genuine, proven by 17 years standing in the business.

How do we eat STP? Well, it is served hot, accompanied by vanilla ice cream. Or whipped cream. Or anything sweet, sinful stuff you might think of. Just like what you might have suspected, there are thousands of version of STP, like chocolate STP or banana STP. If it’s me, I’d stick to the original one. The famous chef James Martin shares STP recipe here.

If you couldn’t find STP in your town, perhaps Haagen-Dazs’ STP ice cream can fulfill your cravings.

But before you dig in, you have to know that just like other sinful Scottish deserts (i.e. deep fried Mars bar), STP is as naughty as it sounds. A piece of STP is about 500 calories, with almost 50% fat content. Ouch!!


  1. I think this is similar to what the Australians call “Sticky Date Pudding” – my host mother used to make it (she was a caterer) and it was SOOOOOOO yummy… it was served steaming hot with vanilla ice cream, because the sauce was within the cake… oh damn you Anita now I crave for it argh…

  2. Finally Woken says:

    Therry, yap, Australian one is the ‘cover version’ of STP. You should try the original one *wink.

  3. Mmm… That’s it, I’m getting an oven 😛

    What’s the point of subscribing to cooking channels when I can’t cook some myself, right ha3x.

  4. omg, Anita, this post really made me drool. no really, literally.

    i’m not much of a sweet tooth, but when i actually drool over something i see on the internet…

    …that probably means my PMS is around the corner. dang it.


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