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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sticky Toffee Pudding

 OK, just a reminder to all us Yanks that Sticky Toffee Pudding is a very popular British dessert, and as such, is not actually pudding.  In the UK "pudding" means dessert (as in, "Would you like to see the puddings menu?")  And this pudding is actually cake. 

Heavenly-brown-sugar-died-and-gone-to-heaven cake.  Buttery and moist with dates (you can't tell they're there, I swear!) and steamed and glazed with nectar-of-the-gods toffee sauce.  Which, since we had a little left, we also poured over ice cream, pancakes, scones, and our fingers before licking them obscenely. 

I was making this for our family Christmas Eve gathering, so I made it in an 8x8 (see below), but I'm sure they'd be even prettier and more amazing in ramekins.  Secondary bonus: my brother and I wouldn't have to fight over whose piece was bigger!

Sticky Toffee Pudding (print recipe)

8 oz. pitted dates, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/3 cups)
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
2 large eggs
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Toffee Sauce:
4 T unsalted butter
1 cup packed (7 ounces) brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 T rum or apple cider
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1.  FOR THE CAKES:  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour eight 4-ounce ramekins (*see below for large pan instructions.)  Set prepared ramekins in large roasting pan lined with clean kitchen towel.  Bring kettle of water to boil. 

2.  Combine half of dates, warm water, and baking soda in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (dates should be submerged) and soak dates for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. 

3.  Process remaining dates and brown sugar in food processor until no large date chunks remain and mixture has texture of damp, coarse sand, about 45 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.  Drain soaked dates and add soaking liquid to processor.  Add eggs, melted butter and vanilla and process until smooth, about 15 seconds.  Transfer mixture to bowl with dry ingredients and sprinkle drained soaked dates on top.

4.  With rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold wet mixture into dry mixture until just combined and date pieces are evenly dispersed.  Divide batter evenly among prepared ramekins (should be two-thirds full).  Quickly pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come 1/4 inch up sides of molds.  Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil, crimping edges to seal.  Bake cakes until puffed and surfaces are spongy, firm, and moist to touch, about 40 minutes.  Immediately transfer ramekins from water bath to wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

5.  FOR THE SAUCE:  While cakes cool, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in sugar and salt until smooth.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and slightly darkened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/3 cup cream and stir until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Slowly pour in remaining 2/3 cup cream and rum, whisking constantly until smooth.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until frothy, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

6.  Using toothpick, poke 25 holes in top of each cake and spoon 1 Tablespoon toffee sauce over each cake.  Let cakes sit until sauce is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Invert each ramekin onto plate or shallow bowl and remove ramekin.  Divide remaining toffee sauce evenly among cakes and serve immediately.    Makes 8 cakes.

TO MAKE AHEAD:  Prepare batter and divide among individual ramekins as directed, then cover and refrigerate, unbaked, for up to 1 day.  Bake as directed in step 4.  Sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance; microwave on 50% power, stirring often, until hot, about 2 to 3 minutes.

*For a large Sticky Toffee Pudding - Substitute 8-inch baking dish, buttered and floured, for ramekins.  Bake cake until outer 2 inches develop small holes and center is puffed and firm to touch, about 40 minutes.  Cool as directed.  Using toothpick, poke about 100 holes in cake and glaze with 1/2 cup sauce.  Let cake sit until sauce is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Cut cake into squares and pour remaining toffee sauce over each square before serving. 

Recipe from The New Best Recipe


Leslie said...

"died and gone to heaven cake"? Can you ship some to me? :)

Lois said...

If you use an 8x8 pan, do you still do a water bath and cover it with tin foil? I love your blog and all the recipes!!

Disco Mom said...

Thanks Lois! And yes, still do the water bath and cover the whole big pan in foil so it steams while it cooks. Enjoy!

Lois said...

I made this for our book group/recipe exchange and it was a big hit. Thanks again!

2406 said...

Was a huge hit! There was plate licking to be had. And they loved my book tie in, which was "a sticky dessert to match the sticky situation of biomedical ethics". Two ladies said they came just for the promise of something sticky and delicious (and they weren't disappointed). Thank you VGP!

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