Both the English and the Irish love this sweet, which is actually more like a cake than a pudding. The beauty of it is that it can be made in any number of shapes to suit your serving needs: in a springform pan and cut into slices; in a muffin pan or ramekins and served as individual cakes; or in a rectangular pan and cut into squares. Regardless of the shape, the flavor of the pudding and the richness of the sauce is what make this “pudding” special. While not a traditional Christmas dessert, it’s often served during the holidays as children and adults alike enjoy it equally.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
1 1/2 cups/ 350 ml water
1 1/4 cups/ 225 g chopped dates
2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups/350 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
16 tbsp. butter at room temperature
2/3 cup/175 g granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups/500 ml heavy cream
1 cup/225 g (packed) dark brown sugar
4 tbsp. butter
Whipped cream or fresh strawberries for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan or the wells of a standard muffin pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, dates, and baking soda. Bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
3. Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then alternately fold in the flour, dates, and vanilla.
5. Transfer to the prepared pan(s) and bake the large cake for 45 minutes, and the muffins for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. To make the sauce, combine the cream, brown sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the sauce thickens.
7. Remove the cake(s) from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Spoon some of the sauce over the top of the large cake and then release the sides of the pan. Remove the muffins from the pan and invert onto the rack.
8. To serve, cut the large cake into slices and serve with additional sauce cake. Put 1 small cake in the center of each of 12 dessert plates and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with some whipped cream or fresh strawberries. (Pudding and sauce can be made a day ahead; reheat the sauce on stovetop or microwave for a few minutes.)
Sticky toffee pudding is always a favourite of mine to make for winter entertaining. Everytime I make it - it disappears immediately!