Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This has got to be one of my favorite desserts.  Gooey, sticky, buttery, caramel-ly.  The warm sauce drenches the dense cake, and when served with cold whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, the additional temperature contrast takes it to another level.

This recipe is pretty simple to make, quite forgiving, and very adaptable.  When I made it today, I didn't have enough dates so I used some raisins to make up for the date deficit.  I imagine dried figs would work too.  And perhaps even prunes.  The dried fruit does make a difference in the end product.  Even if you think you don't like dates, give it a try.  You won't be able to pick out the flavor in the cake, but it definitely adds depth and texture to the finished product.

Sticky Toffee Pudding (adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe)

2 cups of chopped dates
1 cup water
1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c packed brown sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Toffee sauce:
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 tsp whiskey or bourbon (or port or rum)

In a saucepan, boil water and dates over medium heat.  Add the baking soda and stir until dates are soft.  Set aside to cool.

Mix the dry ingredients for the cake.  Set aside.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Add flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with dates, mixing on low after each addition.

Bake at 350.  You can use an 8 inch square pan or a 12-muffin pan.  For a whole cake, bake for 40-45 mins, for the muffin pan, bake 20-25 mins until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Set cake aside.

While the cake is baking, make the toffee sauce by combining sugar, butter, cream, and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a  low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add liquor of choice.

To assemble, pour sauce over cake, top with freshly whipped cream.  Some vanilla ice cream on the side never hurts.