Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heinz Treacle Sponge Pudding

When we think of pudding here in the U.S., the image that comes to mind is spoonfuls of creamy, sweet (probably chocolate) dairy dessert. However, in the U.K., pudding has a much wider meaning. It can be something that is cake-like and can be steamed, baked, boiled, etc. (For more pudding knowledge than Alton Brown could shake a wooden spoon at, read the Wikipedia entry.) And this one is indeed rather a sponge cake thing.

I have to say that sponge cake out of a can wouldn't be my first choice, but short of making my own (yeah, let me know when the time fairy adds those extra hours to my day) it was the only choice. As best I could tell from Googling and Hugh Grant movies (and Googling Hugh Grant movies), Treacle Sponge Pudding is a much-loved treat in the U.K. (Maybe if we are lucky, Jim will chime in here with some first hand info.) Come to think of it, maybe we could just cover Hugh Grant in treacle....... Huh?... What?.... Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be writing a review here, not licking sugar off Hugh... damn buncha playa haterz...

Treacle, incidentally, is a light molasses syrup -- and really, is there any way for molasses to be bad? Let's find out...

To prepare the cake you can either steam it in the can, or take it out of the can and microwave it. Wanna guess which way I went?

Looking at the cake, it's a nice orange brown color. The cake is dense, and while you can see the grain of the crumb, it's so moist that the crumbs stick together.

I blame my U.S. processed snack cake bias, but I think visually what I was expecting was a cake that resembled a round Twinkie covered in a maple syrup-esque layer of treacle. I had made a point not to look for photos of the cake prior to opening, so I could see the cake for the first time, live and in person, not knowing exactly what to anticipate. I don't get to do that very often, so it was kind of fun for me. (I am easily amused.)

As for the taste: At the risk of offending my friends across the pond (including Hugh Grant), I can tell you exactly what this tasted like. The sponge cake actually did remind me greatly of a Twinkie, minus the creme filling. Now imagine what would happen if that Twinkie mated with a really good piece of corn bread, and they had a baby that came out soaked in an intensely sweet sugar syrup. It would taste exactly like this Treacle Sponge Pudding.

Is that good or bad? I am really not sure, to be honest. I suspect that Treacle Sponge Pudding is an acquired taste. Would I buy this one again? Probably not -- but it has inspired me to want to try some different versions. Again, I am hoping an actual Brit will chirp in (cough, cough, Jim) and tell us how this Heinz version stacks up.

Stater Brothers Supermarket


Nicole said...

I'm so glad that you reviewed this. I've been curious about it for a long time. I've seen it on the shelf numerous times in import shops and the "international" section of grocery stores. I just couldn't get over the name....and it's proximity to another dessert called Spotted Dick. When I was in London last month, I almost ordered treacle sponge for dessert...but my husband talked me into bread pudding instead. I'll probably try it at some point...just for the experience.

ebidebby said...

Haha! I have a container of Spotted Dick I've been putting off tasting. But now that you've found the Treacle not so scary, maybe I can be brave!

Jim said...

Aaaaaaaaaah u squealed like a little girl when I saw this review. Gigi I am feeling your underwhelment a tad but you didn't eat it with the all important ingredient ..... CUSTARD!!!!
You guys get custard in the US right? Treacle sponge is always best served piping hot with cold, thick cream based custard!! Great review of a fine British product!!!


Gigi said...

Nicole & Edidebby:
Be brave!-- while again this version didn't knock my socks off it was interesting enough to inspire to want to try better versions.

I wonder if it's kind of like the Brit version of Flan. And what I mean by that is, I love a well made Flan (well, to be picky I like the Creme Caramel type version). Prepackaged versions tend to be "meh" but a home made or a well made restaurant version can be so good your thighs get bigger just looking at it.

I think I will HAVE to try Spotted Dick now- really I sort of wonder how I let that go so long if only because of the comedic value.

Gigi said...

Sadly, I did not have custard! I feel kinda robbed now... Okay next version I will find some way to have custard with it!- I have to figure out how to get the custard to go with it but that is another rant.

There is a really great Brit import shop in the area where I was going to scout for another Treacle so if they can't hook me up I am probably out of luck.