“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Of foggy breaths, funky socks and marshmallows in hot drinks… autumn is love because it announces the coming of winter. And what better way to celebrate this awesome mausum than with something composed of rich caramely goodness, dates and warm toffee.
After Hajj 2015 ( I hope all your loved ones are home safe by the grace of Allah), many of you will have loads of beautiful fresh dates. So this seemed like the perfect time to share the recipe of a sticky date pudding with you. I bet most of you don’t eat more than a few dates anyway (unless cajoled by your mums). Instead of popping them dates straight in your mouth, why not turn them into something even more delicious (and edible).
This dessert is a British classic that has become a favorite worldwide. Made with dates, butter and lots of caramel, it has the power to turn any chocolate lover around. If my sister (a committed chocoholic) can claim this to be one of her favorite dessert, so can you!
Maybe pudding is a little (ok, a lot) misleading for the desi in us. But the British call all their desserts puddings (don’t ask me why), and this dish is thoroughly British. Its a date-studded cake/pudding that is drowned in a sea of warm butterscotch sauce after baking.
Here I’ll like to admit to two horrendous misconceptions I had before making this cake/pudding.
1) I was never enamored with the idea of baking dates. The thought of mushy, khajoor-y cake made me ick and think of strawberry and cream.
2) The second thought that drove me insane was of the sweetness upon sweetness. Sugary sweet dates with a thick caramel sauce. Who will willingly induce a sugar coma?
But, I was wrong and you will be too when you make this cake/pudding.
Everything in it is perfectly balanced. The flavor isn’t over-poweringly date-like. In fact you will hardly be able to tell there are dates in it. It’s the toffee sauce that takes all the glory.
The toffee sauce is unbelievably addicting. And not just with this date pudding, but with anything. On ice-creams, drizzled on top of pies, breads, or just on a spoon straight into your mouth (unless you are diabetic). And it’s super easy to make too. Just pop everything (the butter, brown sugar and cream) in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. And you’re done. It’s thick and pourable, and settles on top of the moist date sponge like a glaze, complimenting it perfectly.
The whole shebang is rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.
Bake it in the form of one cake..
Or several mini cakes…
Either way, it’s a must for the chilly season to come!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
¼ cup (52g) butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 ½ cup (6 ounces) chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup water
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup (52g) butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the pudding:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Butter a muffin tray or an 8×8 baking dish. Set aside.
Bring dates and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside, and let it cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
In another bowl, with the help of an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mixture will be grainy.
Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack.
For the sauce:
In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, cream, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract.
Cut warm cake into slices. Pour prepared toffee sauce on top. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
*Can also be made in a Bundt pan or a muffin tray.
**Warm leftovers in the microwave before serving. Leftovers, even the sauce, can be stored in the refrigerator for over a week.
Poke holes in the cake to drench it completely in the toffee sauce.