Sticky Toffee Pudding Wendy Goodfriend
Sticky Toffee Pudding (Wendy Goodfriend)

Holiday Dinner Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding

Holiday Dinner Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky toffee pudding, a much-loved dessert in the UK, also just so happens to be one of my favorite things to eat. And don’t get my mum-in-law started, she would go to the moon and back just for a helping of this.

Unlike what most Americans think of pudding (a creamy thick custard), this is a baked pudding, so it’s more of a little spongy moist cake. Plenty of butter, dark brown sugar, and heaps of sticky dates add to the flavor of the little cakes, but it’s the sauce that really sends it over the top.

Dark brown sugar, butter, and vanilla are melted into a toffee caramel sauce that is spooned (heapingly and lovingly and with great abandon) over the top of each cake. You can serve them unadorned or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of gently whipped cream, or even a bit of crème anglaise (vanilla custard sauce). Any way you serve it, you are guaranteed to become as smitten with this dessert as I am.

I used little brioche molds to bake my puddings, but you can use ramekins or custard cups. Just be sure to grease them well so the puddings pop right out.

Unmolded sticky toffee pudding on a wire rack.
Unmolded sticky toffee puddings on a wire rack. (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Sticky Toffee Pudding

Makes about 10 to 12 puddings

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Ingredients:

    For the puddings
  • 1/2 cup pitted and finely chopped dates
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, at cool room temp
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    For the toffee sauce
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
    Instructions:
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the chopped dates and the baking soda with the boiling water, stirring to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3.  Pit and finely chop the dates.
    Pit and finely chop the dates. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    In a small bowl, combine the chopped dates and the baking soda with the boiling water, stirring to combine.
    In a small bowl, combine the chopped dates and the baking soda with the boiling water, stirring to combine. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  4. Grease eight 1⁄2-cup (4–fl oz) custard cups or other baking molds and place on a baking sheet (I used cooking spray).
  5. Grease eight 1⁄2-cup (4–fl oz) custard cups or other baking molds and place on a baking sheet.
    Grease eight 1⁄2-cup (4–fl oz) custard cups or other baking molds and place on a baking sheet. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  6. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until lightened. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir to combine. Add the date mixture and stir well. The batter will be thin. Fill the custard cups about two-thirds full.
  7. Add the date mixture and stir well. The batter will be thin.
    Add the date mixture and stir well. The batter will be thin. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Fill the custard cups about two-thirds full.
    Fill the custard cups about two-thirds full. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  8. Bake until the puddings are puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  9. Bake until the puddings are puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
    Bake until the puddings are puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  10. To make the toffee sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cream and brown sugar. Simmer, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the sauce becomes sticky, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
  11.  Simmer, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the sauce becomes sticky.
    Simmer, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the sauce becomes sticky. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  12. To serve the sticky toffee puddings, unmold each warm pudding onto a plate and top with a big spoonful of the sauce.
  13. To serve the sticky toffee puddings, unmold each warm pudding onto a plate and top with a big spoonful of the sauce.
    To serve the sticky toffee puddings, unmold each warm pudding onto a plate and top with a big spoonful of the sauce.
    (Wendy Goodfriend)
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sticky Toffee Pudding (Wendy Goodfriend)

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