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Sticky Toffee Pudding

A glorious end to a glorious feast!

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Pudding has a slightly different meaning in the UK than it does in the US. Stateside we think of pudding as a kind of custard. Across the pond in the UK, a pudding is synonymous with any dessert but typically refers to food that has been steamed or boiled; think blood pudding, for example. We’re not making blood pudding! Rich, sticky toffee poured over the top of a warm spiced cake and cool ice cream is the gift that keeps on giving. What better way to end a beautiful meal than with a delightful Sticky Toffee Pudding?

The pudding begins with a purée of Medjool dates that adds depth of flavor to the pudding and provides an eager canvas for the awaiting toffee sauce. You may notice that the dates are the only “spice” or flavoring – other than sugar – in the batter. No cinnamon or cardamom, or other kind of spice that would render a particular warmth of flavor. That’s the extraordinary thing about these dates; they’ve got a natural sweetness and caramel-spice flavor, so there’s not much need for further enhancement.

We’re making a sticky toffee pudding and that means we need to make the sticky toffee. It’s a simple process that starts with sugar and water and ends with heavy cream, butter, and salt. Work carefully as hot sugar is, well, very hot! I like adding a pinch of salt here; the salt enhances the sweetness of the sauce by creating a flavor balance without becoming a salted caramel sauce.

Once the puddings are released from their ramekins and plated, the sauce may be poured over the top. Now, alone this is quite good, but why stop there? Finish the puddings with a scoop of cool vanilla ice cream (chocolate would be good, too). Sticky Toffee Puddings are a grand treat. They’re aromatic, sweet, creamy, and delicious. This is a dessert as suitable for a royal feast as it is for your own dinner table.

Sticky Toffee Pudding is from the Royal British Feast menu at Table for 12. It is served with Individual Beef Wellingtons, Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce, and Duck Fat Roastie Potatoes.

Makes 12-14 individual cakes

15m prep time

55m cook time

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For the pudding:
  • 2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups water, boiling hot
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Vanilla bean ice cream, to serve
For toffee sauce:
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare 12 butter & floured ramekins.
  2. Add dates to a pot of boiling hot water and let sit for 5 minutes until the dates soften. Puree dates in water using an immersion blender until smooth.
  3. Bring date mixture to a simmer over medium heat, and add baking soda & kosher salt. Mixture will bubble up, so be sure to use a large sided pot. Remove mixture from heat and let cool.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour & baking powder, then set aside.
  5. Using a stand mixer, cream together butter, demerara sugar, and brown sugar for 2 - 3 minutes or until sugar is incorporated.
  6. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the warm date mixture (be sure mixture is not still steaming hot).
  7. Add half the date mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, and mix. Alternate with half the flour mixture, then remaining date mixture, then flour mixture.
  8. Scoop 1/2 cup mixture into each ramekin and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. To make toffee sauce, add the sugar and water to a pan over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, mix sugar into water until it dissolves then stop stirring. Slowly swirl the mixture as the sugar begins to caramelize.
  10. When the sugar turns a deep golden brown, turn off the heat and add in the cream. IT WILL STEAM, BE CAREFUL.
  11. Slowly add the butter to the mixture until melted, then add the salt. Let cool and set aside.
  12. Remove the cake from the ramekin, top with a scoop of ice cream, and pour over the caramel sauce. Warm toffee sauce in the microwave before serving, add more cream, if necessary. Enjoy!

This recipe is from the Royal British Feast menu at Table for 12.