Stuff I Ate: Sticky Toffee Pudding

With longer, colder nights on the horizon, thoughts turn to steaming hot pots of tea – and dessert! One of our all-time classics is sticky toffee pudding. We’ll share the recipe tomorrow, but for now, some fab photos and very kind words from a lovely blog called Stuff I Ate.

“Tea & Sympathy always has great, friendly service, and I’ve yet to try a custard that tops theirs. I mean not in London proper, not in my kitchen, nowhere! Blast!”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Read the rest here.

Banoffee Pie

This is the perfect recipe for the long weekend. Whether you’re spending it with friends and family or enjoying a few stolen moments alone, Banoffee pie is a real treat and so very simple. It is a British recipe, thought up in the kitchen of a countryside restaurant in 1972, with a definite American twang. Caramel, bananas, biscuits and cream make for a delicious crowd pleaser.

In the restaurant, we serve this in individual portions. If you’re feeding many mouths, it works just as well in a larger pie dish.

Serves 4

1 tin of condensed milk
Packet of digestives
1/4 lb of butter, melted
1/2 pint of double cream
3 bananas, sliced
Grated chocolate to serve

  • To make toffee: place unopened tin of condensed milk in boiling water for 2 – 3 hours. The longer you boil it, the darker and thicker the toffee will be. Make sure that the tin is FULLY immersed in water, otherwise, the tin will explode.
  • Crush digestives and mix with melted butter. Using a fork, press the digestives onto the pan, leaving no holes and then chill. Whip the cream until it’s stiff.
  • Layer sliced bananas over biscuit base and cover with the toffee. Add whipped cream and grated chocolate.

A Recipe For Prince Harry: Spotted Dick

After Prince Harry’s recent performance in Las Vegas, we think it’s about time his dear old Grandma hoicked him back to the Palace, sat him down with a cup of tea and some homemade comfort food and gave his ear a good bending. And we have the perfect dish to accompany this most regal of talking-to’s… Spotted dick! A classic British dessert with a name that causes as many “haha’s” as its indulgent flavors do “mmmmm’s”. This one’s for you Ma’am, get ya mixing bowl out!

Spotted Dick with Custard


Recipe Ingredients:

  • 325g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60g brown sugar (demerara)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 220g shredded suet (this can be vegetarian, but beef suet is best)
  • 220g currants (or raisins)
  • 300ml milk

To serve

” In a large mixing bowl sieve in the flour. Then add in the sea salt, cinnamon, sugar, shredded suet, and the currants (or raisins). Using a wooden spoon mix these ingredients together, then add in the beaten eggs and cold milk, keep mixing with the spoon until it comes together. If the mixture is a little wet and in more plain flour. The mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency, i.e. the mixture is not too sloppy but will drop off the spoon when tilted.

Spoon the mixture into the greased pudding basin, pack it down a little and level the surface with the back of the spoon – the level of the pudding should be about 3cm (1.5 inches) below the top of the basin (or less). Cut a round, large sheet of greaseproof paper and one of foil slightly bigger so they will come down at least 10cm (4 inches) over the sides of the basin…”

For the rest of the recipe, click here. And we sell a tinned version in-store if you’re after a quick fix, if you have a game of billiards to attend to, for example…

An Olympic Dessert: Tea & Sympathy’s Eton Mess

This week’s recipe is the perfect dessert for an impromptu Olympic party. It’s been on our specials menu this last week, and always gets a lot of love. An irresistible mixture of pieces of meringue, whipped cream and strawberries, this dessert bursts with the flavors of British summer.

Rumor has it the name came about after a pavlova was dropped at the famous boarding school. In true British style, it was scooped up and served – along with the new name!

Eton College. Where the upper classes learn English, Maths and Quidditch!

Tea & Sympathy’s Eton Mess

Serves 4

A word of warning: do not mix this dish in advance. You can prepare the separate components, but fold together at the last moment to prevent the meringue melting into the cream.

1 lb strawberries
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pint whipping cream
4 meringue nests

  • Chop strawberries, removing any nasty bits. Put into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Whip the cream in a large bowl until it leaves peaks when the whisk is removed. Be careful not to overdo it!
  • Crumble the meringue nests into the cream. Be uneven with it: different sized lumps make for more interesting mouthfuls!
  • Add a third of the strawberries to the mixture and fold in.
  • Spoon the mess into serving dishes and top with the remaining fruit.

Bird’s Custard

Thick or thin, runny or lumpy, hot or cold; every Brit has their own way with custard and plenty of school canteen memories to go with it (good or bad!). A sweet vanilla cream that is scientifically proven to make every cake, baked good and dessert taste better, we get through lashings of the stuff every day.

Bird’s Custard Powder is nothing short of culinary magic. When mixed with milk, heated and stirred, this cornstarch-based powder thickens into a delectable custard. This method allows the skilled cook to create their preferred consistency by regulating heat and spoon-work. We serves our quite light, feeling this the right way. However the pre-mixed variety available in-store is of the more viscous nature that will remind most people of school.

As well as being a delicious product, Bird’s Custard deserves a place in our British Pantry for its brand credentials. Sold across the world from Canada to India, it is recognised by 99% of surveyed consumers back in Blighty. What’s more, it accounts for 45% of the custard consumed in the UK, which is pretty good going.

If you’re yet to try custard, we strongly urge you to do so. It is one of the few foods to fall into the category of life-changing. And you don’t have to invest in a whole tub of powder, or carton of pre-mix, as it comes as an option with all the cakes and desserts we serve in the restaurant. Order yourself a cuppa to go with it and you’ve got the perfect end to a meal.


Rice Pudding: a British school classic for the start of the Fall semester

Here’s a topical dish for the start of the Fall school semester. Rice pudding surely has a special place in the heart of every British schoolchild and every adult who once was on. Topping off school meals for time immemorial, this is the quintessential British dish: thrifty, but unbeatably comforting. Rice pudding consists of just rice, sugar, butter, milk and a pinch of spice and a good deal of baking. Finish with nothing more than a dollop of jam.

Perfect with jam. Alternately, mix in sultanas before cooking.

Debate continues as to whether the skin that forms on the top of the dish should be encouraged, or avoided – we have given directions for both. And remember, if you don’t have the time, stop by Carry On Tea & Sympathy and pick yourself up cans of Ambrosia Rice Pudding for just $3.

Ambrosia Devon Creamed Rice - only $3 a can!

Baked Rice Pudding

Here’s the recipe from our cookbook ‘Tea & Sympathy: Tales of an English Teashop in New York’, available in-store.

Nicky says: At school, we would have homemade baked rice pudding. At home, we would usually have canned. I love both. You can add raisins during the last 20 minutes of cooking time or serve it with a spoonful of jam or golden syrup in the center of the pudding.

Serves 6
Preparation time: About 3 hours

½ cup pudding (short-grain) rice
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
5 cups of whole milk
Freshly ground nutmeg or cinnamon

  • Preheat the oven to 300F.
  • Butter a shallow 8 x 8 or 6 x 10-inch baking dish. Add the rice, sugar and butter. Stir in the milk and sprinkle with a little nutmeg (about ½ teaspoon).
  • Bake for 3 hours, stirring once after 30 minutes, then once or twice over the next 2 hours, until the rice is tender and the pudding has a thick, creamy consistency. If you want the skin over the top, do not stir during the last 30 minutes of baking.
  • Serve either hot or cold.
Yum, yum! Now.. do your homework!

Fox News – Royal wedding – A cake fit for a Prince!

Here’s the video of Fox News’s Food 101 visit to Tea & Sympathy in the run up to the Royal wedding: