When I was a kid, there was one food I hated above any other. Dates. I couldn’t stand them, and my mother (who makes excellent sweets) always used to put them in her scones, thereby ruining them as far as my seven year old self was concerned. It’s amazing how tastes change as you grow up, as now I love dates and am always looking for ways to use them.
Funnily enough, dates are the secret ingredient in one of Britain’s most famous desserts, Sticky Toffee Pudding. This lusciously sweet dessert has been popular since the ‘60s and while the origins of Sticky Toffee Pudding are unclear (it is generally attributed to Francis Coulson) it is considered a classic of the British Kitchen, and for good reason, as it is so delicious.
Depending on my mood I like to make a large pudding to slice and serve at the table or bake the puddings in muffin tins or ramekins for individual portions. Topped with a simple toffee sauce, they are a real crowd-pleaser and so easy to make. I make a slightly lighter style of pudding, as I find it easier to eat after a big rib-sticking winter meal.
This recipe makes enough for 1 x 20cm round pudding made in a springform tin or 8 x 200-250ml ramekins. When making individual puddings, I like to use a jumbo-sized ‘Texas’ muffin tin to make life easier. Sticky Toffee Puddings are fantastic to make ahead as they freeze wonderfully and can be reheated at the last minute and topped with hot toffee sauce. Yum!
Do you like Sticky Toffee Pudding? Or do the dates put you off? Let me know in the comments below!
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the pudding:
- 250g pitted dates
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 400ml boiling water
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 125g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 300g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
for the sauce
- 250ml cream
- 125g sugar
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm springform tin or 8 x 200ml ramekins (see note).
- Use a pair of kitchen scissors to roughly chop the dates. Place in a heatproof bowl with the baking soda, then pour over the boiling water. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure they are thoroughly mixed through.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Pour in the dates and the water they have been in, then mix until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin (or ramekins if you are making individual puddings) and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes for the 20cm size, 35-40 minutes for the individual puddings, until risen, golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Serve the pudding with hot toffee sauce.
You can either make one big pudding to share or 8 individual puddings. To make the individual puddings I use a jumbo 'Texas' style muffin tin, but you could also use ramekins or moulds.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 631Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 328mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 4gSugar: 52gProtein: 7g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Sticky Toffee Pudding in advance?
Yes! It is great for making in advance and can be frozen. Just reheat and be sure to serve with warm sauce.
Can I make Sticky Toffee Puddings in different sized tins?
I have given the directions in the recipe for 1 x 20cm pudding or 8 x 200-250ml puddings. The large pudding needs to bake for around 45 minutes, while the individual puddings take only 35. You could make 16 small muffin-sized puddings, which cook for 30 minutes.
This recipe calls for baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) with the dates? Why is that?
Baking soda or bicarbonate of soda is used to soften the dates. It is also what gives this recipe a lovely lightness.