Prep1 hr 10 mins
This is as wicked as it sounds. A truly delectable combination of flavours and textures that are light and melt in the mouth. I would choose this as a Christmas or New Year dinner party dessert, as the puddings freeze well and are no trouble to re-heat. A modern British classic - sticky toffee pudding was thought to have originated from the Sharrow Bay Hotel in Ullswater in the Lake District of Northern England There is also a school of thought that John Tovey at Miller Howe in Windermere was the first to make this. Either way, the pudding is as iconic today as it was when it was first baked and devoured by the lucky diners of either one of those hotels! My recipe is based on the recipe that Delia Smith published in her Christmas cookbook, but I have made several changes that I feel work better for me, the main change is to increase the pecan toffee sauce quantities, as I have had grown people - mainly males - fighting over who gets the last dribble of this delectable sauce!! I hope you find the step-by-step photos useful when you make this for the first time. (This was featured in the September 2008 Cooking School Topic of the Month on Zaar - a wonderful event where lots of talented chefs on Zaar showed off their culinary skills through photographic tutorials!) Prep time includes the time needed for soaking the dates.
- 3 ounces butter, softened
- 5 ounces soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 6 ounces self-raising flour
- 6 ounces stoned dates, chopped
- 6 fluid ounces boiling water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules, hot water added to make about 1/3 cup or 1⁄3 cup strong fresh coffee
- 3⁄4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 8 ounces soft brown sugar
- 6 ounces butter
- 12 tablespoons double cream (heavy)
- 2 ounces pecan nuts, roughly chopped
- Heat the oven to 180C/360°F Lightly butter 8 x 3" ramekin dishes. I like to spray them to coat them evenly.
- Soak the dates in the boiling water for about half an hour to soften them. Add the bicarbonate of soda, vanilla essence and coffee mixture, mix well and allow to soak for 30 minutes more.
- In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, and beat well after each addition. Fold in the sifted flour, again a little at a time, gently mixing through after each addition.
- Then add the date mixture. You should have a fairly sloppy mixture, it looks all wrong - but it is ALL right, I promise you! Divide the mixture equally between the ramekins, place them on a baking tray and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until well risen.
- Cool for 5 minutes, then loosen them around the sides with a butter knife and turn out. The puddings can be cooled and frozen at this stage. After freezing, defrost, pour the hot sauce over and re-heat to serve as instructed below.
- To serve:- Place the puddings in a shallow ovenproof dish. Heat the grill. Make the sauce by melting the butter, cream, pecans and sugar together in a pan, and stir well.When just boiling, pour HALF of the sauce over the puddings; and then continue to heat the sauce on a rolling boil until it has thickened.
- Place the puddings 5" below the grill and cook for about 8 minutes, making sure that the nuts and sauce does not burn too badly; you should have toasted nuts in places, with a sticky toffee glaze which is almost crunchy.
- Serve with the extra toffee sauce in a heatproof jug, chilled cream, custard, ice-cream, or just NAKED!