Me: Hey Dad, I’m starting to plan for Christmas lunch. Anything you particularly want?’
Dad: The less traditional, the better.
Me: . . . so you don’t want sticky toffee pudding?
Dad: Well . . .

Sticky toffee pudding is of those fabulous traditional desserts from England that, for some reason, has only recently started to achieve popularity in the States. I happen to hail from a family of Anglophiles, so while sticky toffee pudding (STP from here on out) is not a traditional American holiday dessert, it is definitely traditional in both England and in my family.

Why such a fuss over this dessert, you might ask? Well, STP is a rich, moist cake smothered with a hot, sweet, sticky caramel sauce and then finished with a chilled cream or creme anglaise. I wonder why more folks aren’t making such a fuss.

Now, I’ve noticed that STP is starting to appear on menus at restaurants this season, and, trust me, I always order it. However, with the exception of the Witherspoon Grill in Princeton, NJ, I’ve been disappointed. So here it is, America, a proper British recipe passed on to my step-mom by a good friend in England. As I now know, the recipe is from a cookbook called Delia Smith’s Christmas. My understanding is that Delia Smith is an institution of the British kitchen, kind of like the Julia Child of England. Also, this particular cookbook may be out of print because I couldn’t get it directly from Amazon, but was able to get it through the Amazon market.

Oh, and just so you know, pudding is actually kind of a generic term for dessert in England and does not necessarily refer to pudding as we know it in the United States.

Ingredients:

toffee pudding-2

Pudding:
3 oz butter, room temperature
5 oz caster sugar (or granulated)
2 eggs, large & beaten
6 oz self-rising flour, sifted
6 oz dates, pitted and finely chopped
6 oz boiling water
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp coffee extract (or super reduced coffee)
3/4 tsp baking soda

 

 

toffee pudding-12

 

Sauce:
6 oz brown sugar
4 oz butter
6 tbs heavy cream
1 oz pecans, chopped
1/4 tsp salt*
2 oz bourbon*

Chilled cream or creme anglaise to serve.

*not traditional, but excellent

 

Instructions:

toffee pudding-3

Preheat the oven to 350º F and butter 8 6 oz ramekins. (I increased the recipe by half, so you’ll see 12 ramekins in my pictures.)

Put your dates in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Stir in the vanilla, coffee extract and baking soda and set aside while preparing the rest of the pudding. The dates will get very soft and will released stuff into the water, making the whole thing a bit of a soupy mess. This is good.

toffee pudding-4

 

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a bit at a time, until just combined.

toffee pudding-7

 

 

Take the bowl out of the mixer and fold in the sifted flour by hand. Once that is combined, pour in the date mixture (liquid and all) and stir until evenly distributed.

 

 

toffee pudding-8

 

 

 Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and spoon the batter into them. Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes.

toffee pudding-13

 

 

While the pudding is cooking, you can make the sauce. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until the sugar melts into the sauce and it loses that grainy texture. As the sauce gets hotter, keep a sharp eye on it so as to avoid letting burning.

toffee pudding-10

 

 

When the “puddings” (or cakes, as we would call them) are all nice and brown, take them out of the oven and set aside for about 5 minutes. After that it’s time to remove the puddings from the “basins” (ramekins). If the butter or non-stick whatever has done its job well, then you may be able to simply turn the cakes out with only the slightest cajoling. If necessary, you can slide s knife around the edges of the puddings to help loosen them up.

toffee pudding-15

 

 

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or whatever you like to help with clean up and arrange the puddings on the sheet. Using a bamboo skewer, or other similar tool, poke some holes in the top of the puddings so that the sauce will be able to soak down into them. Then spoon the sauce over the puddings and set under the broil for just a few moments so the sauce gets nice and bubbly hot.

toffee pudding-16

 

 

 

Serve the puddings immediately, spooning some more of the hot sauce over them if you deem necessary. It’s nice to set out a small pitcher of cream to drizzle over your plate full of goodness. Another way to serve is to place the pudding in a pool of creme anglaise. No one has ever complained about sticky toffee pudding being served that way. No one.

 

 

 

 

Sticky Toffee Pudding
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • Pudding:
  • 3 oz butter, room temperature
  • 5 oz caster sugar (or granulated)
  • 2 eggs, large & beaten
  • 6 oz self-rising flour, sifted
  • 6 oz dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 6 oz boiling water
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp coffee extract (or super reduced coffee)
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • Sauce:
  • 6 oz brown sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 6 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 oz pecans, chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Chilled cream or creme anglaise to serve.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F and butter 8 6 oz ramekins.
  2. Put your dates in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Stir in the vanilla, coffee extract and baking soda and set aside while preparing the rest of the pudding.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a bit at a time, until just combined.
  4. Take the bowl out of the mixer and fold in the sifted flour by hand.
  5. Once that is combined, pour in the date mixture (liquid and all) and stir until evenly distributed.
  6. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and spoon the batter into them.
  7. Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes.
  8. Make the sauce while the puddings are cooking. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until the sugar melts into the sauce and it loses that grainy texture. As the sauce gets hotter, keep a sharp eye on it so as to avoid letting burning.
  9. When the "puddings" are all nice and brown, take them out of the oven and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  10. After that it's time to remove the puddings from the "basins" (ramekins). If the butter or non-stick whatever has done its job well, then you may be able to simply turn the cakes out with only the slightest cajoling. If necessary, you can slide s knife around the edges of the puddings to help loosen them up.
  11. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange the puddings on the sheet.
  12. Using a bamboo skewer, or other similar tool, poke some holes in the top of the puddings so that the sauce will be able to soak down into them.
  13. Spoon the sauce over the puddings and set under the broil for just a few moments so the sauce gets nice and bubbly hot.
  14. Serve the puddings immediately, with chilled cream or creme anglaise.