For over a year, I've had a recipe for sticky toffee pudding saved in my "to make" files. A dessert that promises warm steamed cake covered in creamy toffee sauce was destined to be baked in my kitchen at some point.
I finally had a perfect excuse to make it this Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law. She and I were equally excited to serve this with the many other holiday desserts, and I am so glad we did.
The buttery cake is filled with soft chopped dates and candied ginger, and smothered in molasses toffee sauce. It is a beautiful, rich dessert that demands to be served warm, and it adds a perfect end note to a holiday meal. We had it with a dollop of whipped cream after dinner, and then again in the morning for breakfast.
Sticky Toffee Pudding (adapted from David Lebovitz)
For the toffee sauce:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup demerara or muscovado sugar (or another dark brown sugar)
2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup or molasses
pinch of salt
For the pudding:
6 ounces pitted dates, snipped or chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
optional: 1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter an 8 1/2-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 10-15 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. Add the ginger, if using, then set aside, but keep it slightly warm.
In a small bowl, sift 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.
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.
Note: To make the pudding in advance, bake the cake without the toffee in the bottom. Let cool, then cover until close to serving time. Poke the cake about fifteen times with a chopstick. Distribute half of the sauce over the top, cover with foil, then re-warm in a 300 degree oven, for 30 minutes.