British puddings as a rule are moist, rich and dense. Oh: and sweet. Sticky toffee pudding doesn’t disappoint on any of those fronts, though the pudding itself is lighter than it may appear. Together the dates and the espresso give the pudding a deep, almost chocolate-like flavor that’s as delicious as it is hard to place, especially if you really process the fruit mixture into a fine purée. If you’re looking for an indulgent finisher for a meal, something a little different but also comforting, sticky toffee pudding is your ticket. This is of course an individual baked pudding, not a classic large steamed pudding, and I confess I quite like it. Gives you more serving and plating options.
Start by assembling your ingredients and preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter six 1-cup ramekins or eight 3″ x 2″ ring molds. Put the dates in a medium bowl and pour on the boiling water. Let them soak for at least 20 minutes.
At that point place them in a food processor with the water and chop them to whatever degree you like. I chopped mine relatively fine but left a few larger pieces because I like dates.
When your date are to the point you like them add the vanilla, espresso and baking soda.
Give that a spin for a few seconds. You’ll notice the mixture increasing volume and changing color to light brown. This is a leavening reaction from the baking soda. Who knew dates were so acidic? Not me I’ll tell you.
Anyway, begin the batter. Beat the sugar and butter in a mixer (or in a bowl with a wooden spoon) until they’re light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Scraping from time to time of course.
Next, sift the flour into a medium bowl.
Add the salt and baking powder and whisk everything together.
Gently stir that into the egg mixture, you don’t want a lot of activated gluten here. Easy does it.
Once you have a homogenous batter, add the date mixture and stir that in.
And there’s your batter.
Spoon that into your molds. For a 1-cup ramekin you’ll use about 5.5 ounce of batter. For a 3″ ring mold you’ll want about 3.75 ounces.
Bake 25-35 minutes until the tops are firm when you tap them. Put the pan on a rack for five minutes to let them cool a bit…
Then unmold them. Owee-owee-ow!!
Yikes those are hot. So then at this point you can hold them for several hours before serving or you can freeze them for up to a couple of months. Refrigeration doesn’t accomplish much. But whatever you do, when you’re ready to serve, place them on a sheet pan under the broiler with a large dollop of semi-liquid toffee sauce on top.
Let it bubble and run, the top edge of the pudding should toast a little. Forgive the focus, my cheekbones were starting to char.
Serve however you like. I favor a puddle of melted ice cream or chilled lightly sweetened cream and a few squeezings of leftover toffee sauce with some walnut pieces as a garnish. You can do what you like.
Serve immediately and await copious praise.