Sticky toffee pudding

A Valentine’s long weekend means showing myself a little self-love, and what better way than baking a delicious dessert! My meal had a bit of a British theme going, so my cursory Googling of “British desserts” brought me to this classic.

Recipe

from Food & Wine
6 oz pitted dates (preferably Medjool)
¾ cup water
¾ cup 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract

Toffee Sauce
1¼ cups heavy cream
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ cup granulated sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine half of the cream with the butter, corn syrup, and sugar; bring to a boil. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 40 minutes. Carefully whisk in the remaining cream. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a bowl.

In a small saucepan, simmer the dates in the water over moderately low heat until the water is nearly absorbed and the dates are soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer dates and any liquid to a food process and puree until very smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter six ½ cup ramekins. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then beat in the date puree. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into the ramekins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre’s come out clean. Let cool slightly.

Using a small serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes level with the rims of the ramekins. Unmold the cakes and invert them onto a wire rack. Slice each cake in half horizontally. Wipe out the ramekins and spoon 1 tbsp of the toffee sauce into each. Return the bottom layers of the cakes to the ramekins, cut side up. Spoon another tbsp of the toffee sauce into the ramekins and top with remaining cake layers. Spoon another tbsp of the toffee sauce over the cakes and spread evenly. Place the ramekins on a king sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the toffee is bubbling around the edges.

Let the puddings cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin-bladed knife around the insides of the ramekins; invert each pudding onto a dessert plate. Rewarm the remaining toffee sauce and spoon some around the puddings. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: The original recipe made wayyyy too much toffee sauce, so I’ve cut the amounts here in half.

Delightfully sweet and sinfully rich, it makes for a truly indulgent little dessert. Perfectly appropriate for a Valentine’s night in. The ice cream is a refreshing addition and cuts through the richness of the toffee pudding.

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