Recipe: sticky toffee pudding
Several months ago, I met up with Manisha and Kitt for the first time. We had a food blogger food- and photo-fest at The Kitchen in Boulder. I don’t typically dig on dessert despite making dessert (what seems like) all of the time, but I am always curious to see how restaurants make and plate their desserts, so I am usually willing to split an order with my companions. We agreed on the sticky toffee pudding, something I had heard raves about from others who have dined at The Kitchen. Rich. Delicious. I’m not a big chocolate fan, but I will shove little old ladies out of the way for toffee (not really, but you get my point).
i like dates, dried dates, lunch dates, ski dates, play dates…
I was perusing The Kitchen’s website the other day, in search of their phone number to make a reservation for my dear Kell’s visit in April (she’s coming allllll the way from Oz!) when I noticed a recipes link. Huh. Click. Click click. Click. STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING?! You know I had to try it.
choped dates in the food processor
The recipe instructions are a little amusing. I snorted/laughed to myself when I read the “in a separate food processor” bit, because we all have multiple stand mixers and food processors lying about, right? The batter for the cake (pudding? sorry – I am British Commonwealth culture-stupid) comes together easily, although I didn’t have muffin tins that I trust. Instead, I used a couple of ramekins, a couple of brioche tins, and then a bunch of mini muffin tins. I like variety.
folding the date mixture into the batter
Because of my elevation, I went ahead and adjusted the temperature by increasing it 15°F. I had naively filled the mini muffin molds to 3/4 full and that resulted in several mini muffin bases all joined together with the amorphous muffin top the shape of North America. The ramekins bubbled over onto the baking sheet (2/3 full), and the brioches (1/2 full) were perfect – except all of these stuck like a mother to their respective vessels. I let them cool before gently prying them out with a thin knife. They came out a tad shaggy, but that didn’t matter so much.
time for the precious sauce
I trimmed the mini muffins with a knife for presentation purposes, but realized as soon as I ladled the caramel sauce onto the pudding, that all cosmetic imperfections were lost in the shellac of sticky goodness. The brioche forms were the prettiest. Since I turned them upside down, even the craters in the middle of the ramekin cakes were inconsequential.
make sure that caramel sauce is warm
Of course, I had to top it with a little scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream (Lebovitz, you are the best!). My first bite was more heavenly than I recalled from The Kitchen. After all of the swearing coming from the kitchen while I manhandled the little cakes, suddenly silence… and then an audible, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!” and “Ooooooooh my gawwwwwwwwwd! That is the shit!” Rarely am I ever so enthusiastic about a sweet.
the brioche tin form
I recommend, if you ever serve this, to serve it in a large bowl or plate with a high rim, because 1) you want a puddle of caramel sauce and 2) the large area of the dish catches all of the drips that would otherwise end up on someone’s clothes or your furniture. And like I instructed above, serve the caramel sauce warm. As noted on The Kitchen’s website, this recipe is great anytime of year, but I cannot wait to serve it around the winter holidays. I have to give the rest away soon or else I know I will eat them.
a mini muffin version, no bigger than a silver dollar
Sticky Toffee Pudding
slightly modified from The Kitchen
12 large dried dates
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp espresso or strong coffee
1/2 tsp baking soda (reduce to 1/4 tsp at 8500 ft.)
3/4 cup boiling water
5 tbsps butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup self-rising flour
pinch of salt
8 oz. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup pecans
vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350ºF (365°F at 8500 ft.). Discard seeds from dates; chop dates with a sharp knife. Place in a food processor with vanilla extract, espresso, and baking soda. Pulse for a few seconds until slightly blended, then slowly add boiling water, pulsing until completely blended. In a separate food processor, blend butter with sugar for at least 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Transfer mixture to a bowl and fold in flour a little at a time, and pinch of salt. Fold wet date mixture into butter-flour mixture. Pour into 4-ounce muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden and fairly firm. [Jen's Note: don't fill the tins, at least when I did, they rose quite a bit and some bubbled over - how annoying, but that may be my elevation. I suggest fill 2/3 full. Also, my baking times at my elevation for mini muffins: 15 minutes, 4-inch brioche tins: 20 minutes, and 4-inch ramekins: 24 minutes.] Remove from tins before serving [Jen's Note: these are sticky buggers, they stick to the pan]. To make caramel sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in brown sugar until emulsified. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes. Once sugar is dissolved, add heavy cream and stir in nuts. Serve warm sauce over pudding, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.