Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Licky Toffee Pudding

Well, since today is my birthday, I hope I can get away with telling this funny story! Last Saturday night, my poor husband had to work on a big project and didn't get home until well after 10pm. He ate dinner and quickly fell asleep watching TV. I didn't have the heart to wake him, but left a nice plate of "Sticky Toffee Pudding," all decked out with toffee sauce and a dollop of creme fraiche. The next day, I asked if he enjoyed his bedtime snack, in which he said he did. I then mentioned how good it was with the creme fraiche, when he replied, "There wasn't any creme fraiche?" It took us a few perplexed seconds, before we began laughing! My kitty must have gotten there first! I hadn't thought of that...oops!

This is a fantastic dessert, originating in Australia via Britain. It takes a little time, though; so, pick a lazy afternoon to make it. It's definitely worth the time, and is excellent during the holidays!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 12 to 14, it's really rich!


For the toffee sauce
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the pudding
6 oz pitted dates, cut into thirds (make sure there aren't any pits!)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (chocolate chips work well, too)
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional, but I like it)
Creme fraiche for serving (optional, Trader Joes carries it, if you have one)


Butter a 9" round cake pan with 2" sides and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Do NOT use a springform pan, as the toffee will leak out during cooking, or else wrap the outside of the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

For the toffee sauce:
Combine the brown sugar, butter, and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and the sauce is bubbling. Pour half the sauce (about 1 cup) into the prepared cake pan and set aside the rest to serve with the pudding.

For the pudding:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the dates and baking soda in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Set aside.

Cream the butter, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl (or stand mixer) until white and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time, sprinkling in 1 tablespoon of the flour when you have added about half the beaten eggs. (This helps stop the batter from curdling; however, if it does, it's okay, it will come together again when the rest of the flour is added.) Mix in the dates and their soaking water. Sift the remaining flour and baking powder over the mixture, then fold in gently but thoroughly. Stir in the chopped chocolate and the expresso powder. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake until the top is golden and firm and the sides have shrunk away slightly from the pan, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn it out onto a serving plate.

Reheat the remaining sauce until bubbling. Cut the warm pudding into wedges, spoon the sauce over the pudding, and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche. This can be made a day before serving, just rewarm the cake and sauce.

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