In the UK, “pudding” is a broad dessert category embracing everything from fools and flummerys to crumbles, coddles and creams. Textures vary just as widely, which can be a bit confusing to the American palate which puts pudding in the creamy custard column. While I like the whimsy and wide-ranging possibility of the UK’s pudding tradition, I do think something as lovely-sounding as Sticky Toffee Pudding should be soft, sticky and rich as the name implies. And that meant a little adaptation. As they’ve evolved over time, recipes for Sticky Toffee Pudding today produce something more cake-y, than pudding-like. But oven-steaming the dessert as I would a good bread pudding, the results are wonderfully soft. Our traditional date-laced version is perfect bathed with buttery orange-toffee sauce. Or, add a 1/4 cup of dark cocoa powder to the batter to enjoy a deep chocolate pudding.
Makes 12 individual-ramekin servings
Sticky Toffee Pudding Ingredients
- 2 cups dates
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 stick unsalted cultured butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- IF MAKING CHOCOLATE VERSION: 1/4 cup dark (heavily dutched) cocoa powder
- Whipped cream, for garnish
- finely grated orange zest, for garnish
Orange Toffee Sauce Ingredients
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Juice of one navel orange, strained
- pinch of salt
- Make the pudding: Boil 1 1/2 cups water. Pour boiling water over dates. Add 1 tsp baking soda. Stir. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dates to sit for a few hours to soften well. Whirl all to a smooth paste with a hand blender, regular blender or in a food processor.
- Whisk butter, sugar and vanilla until volume increases and mixture is fluffy. Mixing steadily, add eggs, one at a time. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and spice) [AND CHOCOLATE, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE VERSION.]) together. Alternating with the date mixture, add flour and dates to the butter, whisking to incorporate.
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a quart of boiling water. Pour the batter into 12 ramekins, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top of each. Lightly cover each ramekin with foil. Place filled ramekins in a large pan. Place the pan with the ramekins in it on the center rack of the oven. Pour boiling water into the pan, creating a steam bath for the ramekins. The water should be about 1/2 inch up the outsides of the ramekins. Carefully close the oven. Steam the puddings for 45 minutes.
- While the puddings are baking, make the sauce. Melt butter and sugar with the vanilla in a sauce pan. Boil for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat. Whisk in the cream and then the orange juice.
- Slip a knife around the edge of each pudding. Unmold the puddings onto serving plates; drizzle with plenty of toffee sauce. Top with whipped cream and orange zest. Eat while warm.