Sticky toffee pudding is something I’d heard rumblings about before and sort of put it in the back of my mind to maybe try one day. I had never eaten it and really knew nothing about it, but I figured… Sticky? Good. Toffee? Good. Pudding? Goooood. I most likely couldn’t go wrong with this, but it never quite cracked my short list of recipes to try. Fast forward to this past weekend when my Chief Culinary Consultant was reading his Wall Street Journal and handed me the section that included a big spread on holiday food (this is naturally much more my go-to than markets and futures and things of that nature). There was an article dedicated to different types of puddings (all of which I want to try), and the recipe for the sticky toffee pudding jumped right off the page at me. Um, no one told me there were DATES in sticky toffee pudding!! I would have made this eons sooner! I love me some dates. And not surprisingly, I looooooved the sticky toffee pudding!
I ended up not going with the recipe that was featured in the Wall Street Journal due to the fact that there was mention of soaking the dates in water, but not actually mentioning how much water was needed. I figured this was a relatively important quantity to know, so I went about searching for a very similar recipe. I hit pay dirt on David Lebovitz’ site, as his recipe was almost identical to the one in the paper, but thankfully his instructions included the amount of water needed.
As it turns out, sticky toffee pudding is every sort of awesome you can imagine. It’s baked on top of toffee sauce. The sponge-like cake is moist and packed with dates. And then more toffee sauce is poured over top. You could top it even further with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you dare. I was actually out (I swore there was still some in the fridge from Thanksgiving, bummer!), but I did think that a little squirt of whipped cream would be good. And who am I kidding? When is vanilla ice cream on top of something not a good idea?
So tell me, who knew about sticky toffee pudding and didn’t share the amazingness I had been missing out on? Is this a staple in anyone’s family for Christmas?
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter an 8½-inch porcelain soufflé dish (or similar-sized baking dish.)
Make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, demerara or turbinado sugar, golden syrup (or molasses) and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.
Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Pour half the sauce into the prepared soufflé dish and place the dish in the freezer, and reserve the other half for serving.
To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Set aside, but keep it slightly warm.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. (Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks a bit curdled.)
Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture until just mixed. Don’t overbeat the batter.
Remove the soufflé dish from the freezer and scrape the batter into the soufflé dish and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
Remove the pudding from the oven, and let cool slightly before serving. Spoon portions of the cake into serving bowls and douse with additional warm toffee sauce. Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream are good accompaniments, although I enjoy it just as it is.