Sunday, June 3, 2012
English Sticky Toffee Pudding
We just returned from a wonderful week in Ireland. It's a beautiful country full of surprises and warm people. My Ireland Bucket List included eating traditional fish n'chips, drinking a pint, seeing a rainbow, and eating sticky toffee pudding. I was lucky enough to check off most of the items on my wish list, except for the rainbow as the weather was uncharacteristically sunny and the sticky toffee pudding.
Sticky toffee pudding's roots are English and not Irish, but I knew it was a popular dessert there and one I had not tried before. Seeing it on several menus early in our trip I didn't think it would be difficult to find later in our journey. I was wrong. As we wound up our trip in Dublin, my sweet husband was determined to find it on our last evening and after checking what seemed to be hundreds of menus posted at restaurants, pubs, and coffee houses in vain, I told him I was just make it for myself. So I did. One our first day home.
I obviously didn't know much about this dessert because I was surprised to find that dates are one of the main ingredients. A simple, rustic dessert, I was also pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it is to prepare. Finely chopped dates are soaked in some water with baking soda and then folded into a simple batter. While it bakes you make a simple caramel, or toffee, sauce. Some sauce is added to the top of the baked pudding and then broiled for a few minutes. Additional sauce is served over the top. You can add whipped cream or ice cream as well, but I found it wasn't necessary.
Don't let the word pudding throw you off here. This dessert is a moist cake and not a thick pudding. Warm from the oven, the top slightly bruleed, it is delightful especially with a generous drizzle of sauce. The dates add sweetness and the tiniest bit of texture while the caramel adds richness. My husband didn't know what to expect and took a bite only because I literally stuck it in his mouth. He loved it and took the plate from me and kept saying mmmm and how good it was. I honestly don't think I could have found a version any better in Ireland!
English Sticky Toffee Pudding
Cooking Live, Marie Simmons
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup pitted dates
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish.
Whisk the flour and baking powder together. Chop the dates finely and place in a bowl with the boiling water and baking soda, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beat until blended. Gradually add in the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixture and gently fold in the date mixture with a rubber spatula until well combined.
Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, add butter, cream, and brown sugar to small saucepan. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the toffee sauce over top of pudding and spread to cover. Place under broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Serve immediately with additional sauce drizzled over.