Recipe of the Week
Ok, I don’t really post a weekly recipe, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?
This recipe came to me from a dear friend, Ann, who is a wonderful cook of Southern heritage (no disrespect to other regions of the US, but I must say, all the Southern cooks I know are skilled and accomplished in the kitchen). Ann is a shining star in that area, and she has been a source of many family favorites through the years of our friendship. My famous cinnamon rolls (famous among my friends) are really Ann’s…and I am always happy to give credit to her.
But cinnamon rolls are for another day. Today’s little jewel is Sticky Toffee Pudding, possibly my favorite dessert in the world next to decadent chocolate cake. And there’s a secret ingredient: dates! Don’t be put off by that if you’re not a date fan. They dissolve beautifully. Make a game of asking family or guests what fruit is in the pudding. My bet is that no one will even know there’s fruit in the dessert, much less guess what it is.
The first thing to know about this dessert is that it is not a pudding. This is a recipe of English origin, and the English seem to label many things “pudding” that would not be a pudding to an American…just a little clarification going in so no one is surprised by the result. But believe me, you won’t be sorry this is not the traditional American pudding…just ignore the name and proceed as directed. This is a moist and delicious cake with the best and easiest-to-make caramel sauce I’ve ever had. In fact, the sauce alone is worth making. I use it for other desserts that need a little extra love in the form of gooey-buttery-brown sugar decadence. It keeps well in the fridge and reheats like a charm. And it dresses up anything, from a plain pound cake to a bowl of fresh fruit; perfect for ice cream too. Thank you, Ann!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ cup chopped pitted dates
- 1 ¼ cup boiling water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
Toffee Sauce Ingredients:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Directions for pudding:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan, or square baking dish of similar size. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. Finely chop dates if you purchased whole dates. (You can purchase these pitted and whole, or already chopped, either option works.) Place dates in a bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda. Set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and blend into butter/sugar. Gradually blend in the flour mixture. Gently fold date mixture into the batter, and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until the pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool in pan.
Directions for sauce:
Combine the butter, ½ cup of heavy cream, and the brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan. Heat mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil over medium heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes.
Preheat oven broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the pudding and spread evenly over the top. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Portion pudding into dessert dishes, drizzle with additional toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.