This sweet treat is a modern English recipe, thus the use of the word "pudding", which our neighbors over the big pond use to describe a number of different styles of dessert. It involves a moist and fluffy cake, traditionally steamed, bathed in a buttery toffee sauce and served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. The secret ingredient, the thing that gives the cake its sticky texture and fruity richness, is chopped dates.
I was watching Kevin Dundon's show on PBS and he prepared this dessert. I became somewhat obsessed. My mind would wander and I would find myself thinking sticky toffee pudding. Just the words "sticky toffee pudding" evoke images in my mind of this unique dessert. I'd been reading recipes and reviews and finally had a free weekend to experiment.
medjool variety of dates, which I found at my favorite gourmet store. Since this recipe uses a lot of butter, I chose high quality Plugra Europpean style butter.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup pitted, chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp, very soft
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
THE TOFFEE SAUCE:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
The recipe starts with the cake. I set the oven to 350 and greased a 10 inch square baking pan. I chopped up the dates, placed them in a bowl and poured the boiling water over them. Following the recipe, I added the baking soda to the dates and set them aside to soften. This step helps to activate the baking soda, which makes the cake rise in the oven. Next I sifted together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and set it aside. In the bowl of the mixer, I creamed the butter and sugar together until they were fluffy and well mixed. Then I added the egg and vanilla and mixed it until well blended. Then it was time for the dates.