Sticky date pudding with salted toffee sauce
One of my favourite fall desserts is a sticky toffee pudding, dense and moist, drizzled with sticky toffee sauce and served with ice cream. It doesn’t matter what I have for dinner, there is always room for this dessert.
I have a few recipes that I rotate when making this pudding but I always keep my eyes open for something new and I found this one in a new dessert book. For those of you who know Ottolenghi of the Plenty fame, he just published a book simply called Sweet, co-authored with pastry chef Helen Gah. Of course I bought the book immediately and I am baking my way through it, currently on dessert no. 3 in a very short order.
The recipe called for figs but I had none on hand so substituted with dates. I also didn’t have butter so used vegetable oil instead. Still, it produced a lovely dessert that didn’t last long between the two of us and a couple of guests (it yields 8 individual cakes). Ottolenghi tops the cake with salted caramel coconut sauce that is baked right on the cake at the end. I tried it but it didn’t quite work for me in terms of texture. The coconut made it grainy because the flakes I used were too small, so I replaced it with a simple toffee sauce made with butter, cream and brown sugar and sprinkled with maldon salt crystals when plating. I may try it again with the proper size coconut flakes and let you know if it worked better the second time.
I baked the cakes in a baking tray that has 6 deep straight-sided individual cake molds 3″ in diameter and 2″ deep with removable bottoms, much like a muffin tray but with straight sides. The cakes rise just above the edges of the pan and I turn the cakes upside down to serve. It is a little more elegant than the muffin shaped cakes but either would do.If you like to bake it’s worth investing in a tray that has individual cake molds this size. Ottolenghi / Gah bake their cakes in 3″ diameter 1 1/2″ deep bottomless cake rings set over a baking sheet lined with parchment and they insert a parchment “collar” that rises 1″ above the rim of the rings.
1 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter (or vegetable oil)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salted toffee sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
A few flakes of maldon salt
Place butter in small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add sugar and cream with a pinch of salt. Cook until everything is melted and the sauce is smooth. Keep warm.
Sprinkle a few maldon salt crystals when serving.
Peel and core the apples and cut into small dice.
Cut the dates in small pieces.
Combine apple, dates, baking soda and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
Butter the inside of 8 individual cake molds.
Sift flour, baking powder and slat together.
With a mixer or by hand with a whisk beat the sugar, butter or oil, egg and vanilla until combined.
Add flour mixture alternating with apple-date mixture.
Divide batter among the prepared cake pans.
Bake in a preheated 400F oven 25-30 minutes or until baked through.
Let cool in cake pans before removing.
To serve place a cake in the middle of a dessert bowl, drizzle the sauce around and over, place a scoop of ice cream on top of the cake and serve warm.