I'm generally of the opinion that no ready-made food can taste as good as something cooked from scratch. We'll ignore my frankly embarrassing and regular cravings for Bachelors Cheese & Broccoli flavoured Pasta n' Sauce - the stuff with stinky powdered cheese sauce you add boiling water to and that tastes so..... *Homer Simpson drooling*. But I wouldn't imagine a ready-made sticky toffee pudding could be as delicious as one I could make myself. Not that I've ever made one, but still, when I was reliably informed that Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding was the best in the world, I was intrigued. Any town that's appeared in Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan's The Trip has got to be worth a shot.
A very nice person sent me an individual Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, a Chocolate Pudding (currently still to be eaten) and a jar of toffee sauce. I won't lie, I became a little giddy when the courier handed the box over to me.
I left the puddings alone for a day, wanting to give them the attention they deserved. So the following day after a lunch of oxtail soup and far too much bread considering there was dessert, I set about cooking this little foil-wrapped wonder. I took the paper lid off, sat it on the kitchen counter and dunked my finger into the sauce on top of the pudding.
OH.MY.GOD. It tastes like Christmas. You know how at Christmas you're bombarded with toffees and fudge and rich dried fruits? The taste is like all those things in one little pot. It's intoxicating. I dipped my finger in and licked it clean several times before convincing myself that I should probably put it in the oven. My impatience was ridiculous. I paced up and down the kitchen enough that it made me slightly dizzy and I had to sit down for a moment. (This was approx. 70% due to my balance disorder, 30% greedy anticipation.) The kitchen was now full of an ever so slightly burnt sugar smell, so I decided to take the pudding out of the oven .
I wish someone had invented smell-o-vision so you could appreciate just how lovely the air smelt. I tipped the pudding out, added some of the fudgy sauce over top - which melted and slid off almost immediately - and poured on some custard. I'm sorry I added the custard. It wasn't needed and wasn't even good custard, but a slight microwave mishap had meant there wasn't much left to pour anyway. And so, I ate......
It was heaven. My favourite thing was the sugar in the cooked sauce that had formed itself into chewy little nuggets of caramel, but the entire thing was delicious and left me with that feeling where you couldn't possibly eat another crumb.....until you figure you could probably lick the plate clean if you forced yourself. I didn't, by the way. Well, not until I'd taken this picture anyway.