Sticky Toffee Pudding

sticky toffee pudding

This toffee-flavored dessert features dates, the classic base for sticky toffee pudding that provide sweetness, flavor and moistness. This is not a pudding of the creamy, cornstarch-thickened variety, but rather like a traditional English dessert. The batter is cake-like, but the dessert is formed in individual ramekins and then steamed for an ultra-moist result. These can be made ahead and reheated, so take advantage of this recipe if you need to save some time. Note that we call for Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which is a specialty product. It is light treacle syrup with a delicate golden color and gentle, sweet taste and it accentuates the toffee flavors in the sauce. You could substitute light corn syrup for texture, but you would lose a lot of flavor. Look how luscious it is here below.  lyles-golden-syrup-2

Images: Peter Muka

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Makes: Serves 8
  • Toffee Sauce:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Lyle’s Golden syrup (see Tip)
  • Pudding:
  • 6 ounces moist pitted dates (about 2½ cups), chopped
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour, divided into 2 cups and ⅔ cup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. For the Sauce: Whisk the cream, brown sugar and Lyle’s Golden Syrup together in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down and simmer for a few minutes, whisking occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and toffee sauce is smooth; keep warm while making the puddings.
  2. For the Pudding: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8, 4-ounce narrow, deep ceramic ramekins and place them in a roasting pan (it is helpful if the pan is deeper than the ramekins); set aside.
  3. Combine the dates and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the baking soda, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. The dates should be very soft; mash with a fork. Leave some texture; they don’t have to be a smooth purée.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
  5. Cream the butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft. Beat in the brown sugar and continue to beat until combined and a bit fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until absorbed. Beat in vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture and the date mixture alternately in two batches, just until combined. Divide into ramekins. Add enough hot tap water to come halfway up the ramekins’ sides. Use a large piece of foil (or two overlapping pieces) to cover all the ramekins and seal tightly along the edges of the pan. If the pan is deep and the foil clears the top of the ramekins by at least an inch, then you are ready to bake. If the pan is not that deep, you need to create a tent with the foil so there is headroom for the puddings to rise).
  6. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for about 25 to 35 minutes or until puddings are just set. The edges will be done and the center should be a bit softer and puffed. Remove ramekins from the water bath and place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife or small icing spatula along the inside of the ramekins and unmold the puddings onto servings plates. Poke about 20 holes in each ramekin with a bamboo skewer. Re-warm the sauce if necessary and spoon sauce over each pudding, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more. Allow the sauce to pool over and around each pudding and serve immediately. Sticky Toffee Pudding is great with a little lightly sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  7. To make ahead, unmold the puddings and let cool. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat in microwave before proceeding. Sauce may be refrigerated in an airtight container; reheat before using. Always serve this dessert warm.

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