Baked and steamed puddings are an English holiday tradition and whether you opt for a dense and delicious plum pudding topped with brandied hard sauce or a persimmon pudding slathered in whipped cream, you’ll be ending your meal with a satisfying sweet.
One of the most beloved desserts of the pudding type is a cakey confection known as “Sticky Toffee Pudding.” It gets its decadent consistency from chopped dates and it is usually bathed in a buttery caramel sauce that’s so good you could eat it with a spoon. (The recipe makes extra, so feel free to spoon over ice cream or a store-bought pound cake to jazz it up.)
The original recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding does not call for chocolate but the addition of a little chocolate to the caramel gooeyness of the sauce is inspired. This is an incredibly rich dessert, so a little goes a long way. (But be prepared for people to lick the plate clean when they’ve finished their portion. It’s that good.)
Many recipes call for bundt or tube pans for baking, which make a nice presentation, but make your life easier and use a springform pan to get all those little bits of toffee and cake out.
Sticky Toffee Chocolate Pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
¾ cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water (approximately)
½ stick unsalted butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Put the dates in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Stir in the baking powder and baking soda. Let the mixture “sit” while you combine the other ingredients.
Cream the butter and the sugar together. Beat in the egg and add the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, being careful not to overmix.
Fold in the date mixture. (The dates will have softened in the water.) Again, be careful not to overmix.)
Put the baking pan on a rack in a deeper pan with about an inch of water in the bottom. (Turkey roasting pans are great for this.)
Tent the entire baking pan/water bath pan combo with aluminum foil and bake/steam for 30-40 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack.
Invert cake on a platter and then pour the chocolate-caramel sauce over the warm pudding so it sinks into all the little nooks and crannies. Serve warm.
The sauce can be refrigerated for several days and the pudding keeps well too. But don’t count on having too many leftovers when you serve this cake.
Serve small slices…this is a very rich dessert.
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Sauce
Make this sauce as the pudding is baking because halfway through the process you’ll be pouring the sauce over the cake.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, stir in the brown sugar and chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Add the heavy cream and stir until blended, being careful not to scorch the mixture.
Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the nuts and set aside until ready to pour.