Sticky Toffee Pudding: Easy, but extravagant dessert
Don't you love those desserts that taste like you toiled for hours over a hot stove but, in fact, aren't much more difficult than a microwave mug cake?
Sticky Toffee Pudding fits the bill. I made the sweet, British dessert a couple of years ago at Christmas Eve and will probably do it again this year. I found it to be the perfect ending to our meal. With its flavors of caramel and date, its rich velvety texture satisfied in just a couple of bites (not that I stopped there, but I should have). I top it with whipped cream, but vanilla ice cream is an option as well.
As you may or may not know, British puddings aren't really like the pudding we Americans know as the instant stuff Bill Cosby used to advertise in the 1970s. It's more like a cake.
But because you poke holes in the top and pour the toffee sauce over it, the cake becomes incredibly moist. Sticky Toffee Pudding reminded me a little bit of the plum pudding my sister and I made a few years back. But it was so much easier — about 6 hours for the plum pudding compared to about an hour for the Sticky Toffee Pudding. I figured it was an old English recipe, but most reports say it only goes back to the '70s. Other reports say it was Canadian soldiers who brought the recipe to England during World War II, so not only is it not an old-time English recipe, it might not be British at all.
Either way, it's absolutely fabulous and easy enough to get you out of the kitchen and into the living room enjoying time with your family.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Serves: 10 regular cupcakes or 6 large cupcakes
12 dried, pitted dates
1 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups (5.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (5.7 ounces) dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup (5.2 ounces) light-brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter 10 wells of a regular muffin tin or 6 wells of a large muffin tin and dust with flour, shaking out excess; set aside.
Add dates and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add baking soda and boil, stirring occasionally for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, cover saucepan with lid and rest 10 minutes. Then puree (the water and dates) in a food processor or blender. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt for 20 seconds; set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar until mixture becomes lighter in shade. Mix in egg then egg yolk and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, add in half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Then add pureed date mixture and finish by mixing in remaining half of the flour mixture.
Divide mixture in prepared pan, filling each cup about 2/3 full (about 1/3 cup at a time). Bake in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes. (If you're using the large muffin tins, it will take at least 20 minutes).
Meanwhile, prepare toffee sauce.
Cool cakes in cupcake pan 5 minutes then run a butter knife around edges to loosen. Plate cakes. (You can either serve them upright like a muffin or upside down. If rotating to bottom side, cut off about 1/2-inch just to level so they sit flat). Poke tops about 10 times with a toothpick then drizzle toffee sauce over the cake.
Serve warm. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
For the toffee sauce:
In a small saucepan, combine butter, cream and brown sugar. Heat mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches a boil. Allow to boil 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve warm over cakes.
Store in refrigerator in an airtight container and reheat before serving.
Recipe inspired by Bon Appetit and Cooking Classy