Sticky Toffee Pudding

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OK. Since everyone is so grinchily anti-fruitcake – and Christmas pudding is essentially dark fruitcake – how about a nice moist, sticky toffee pud? This one is baked, so you don’t have to mess about with a pudding mold and cheesecloth and steaming… technically it’s more of a cake, but what’s in a name? It’s milder than gingerbread, loaded with soft dates and fragrant pear and doused in caramel, which should make everyone suitably jolly.

Medjool dates

Traditional sticky toffee pudding is made with dates – I’m a fan of the big, soft, sticky Medjool dates you can find in the produce section of most grocery stores; they’re nothing like the hard, dried-out dates of my childhood, or the bricks of dates you can still find in the baking section that require chiseling with a kitchen implement.

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They’re simmered with water, then added to a basic butter-sugar-egg mixture along with a grated pear – it’s that time of year when I buy too many pears, which then turn overripe in the fruit bowl, but are perfect for grating into cakes and muffins and such. Move over, overripe bananas.

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It can be baked in a bundt pan, but I currently have a collection of odd shaped bundt-esque pans and pudding molds in my basement, acquired over a lifetime of garage sale-ing, that are generally reserved for fruitcake and were perfect for a holiday pudding. (Or cake. Whatevs.)

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The sticky toffee sauce is made thus: 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup cream, 1/4 cup butter. Bring to a simmer. Done. You could add some whisky or bourbon, but in this case I like the flavours of fruit, butter, sugar, vanilla and cream at the forefront.

sticky toffee pudding

The caramel can be made ahead, and really needs no more than a spoon… but I’m happy to have a wedge of cake to lap up all that caramel. (Next time, I’ll lob a spoonful of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream into the mix as well.)

This is what big long Christmas afternoon walks are for.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

Recipe link

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December 10, 2014

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chopped, pitted dates

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 very ripe pear, coarsely grated

Toffee Sauce:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla or maple extract or 2 Tbsp. bourbon

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions

1Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small-medium saucepan, bring the dates to a simmer with 1 1/4 cups water. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. It will foam up - make sure you have room. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.

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3In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until sandy; add the eggs and vanilla and beat until pale and light. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients and stir (or beat on low) just until combined. Stir in the date mixture and pear, then the remaining dry ingredients, stirring just until blended.

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5Pour into a well buttered Bundt or similar shaped pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until deep golden, cracked on top and springy to the touch. Let cool on a wire rack, and invert onto the rack or a plate while still slightly warm.

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7To make the sauce, bring the brown sugar, cream and butter to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking often. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla or bourbon. Set aside to cool.

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9Serve the cake topped with caramel sauce, with whipped cream or ice cream.

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11Serves 8.

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This sticky toffee pudding post was brought to you by Natural Delights Medjool Dates – one of my favourite ingredients I’m happy to be able to share more of! As always, all words and thoughts are my own.

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19 comments on “Sticky Toffee Pudding

  1. CathyH
    December 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I am in California, minutes away from Shields Date Farm. You can order on line. They have the best selection and best dates ever! Date and mango milkshakes are the best!

    • Julie
      December 10, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Cathy! Date and mango milkshakes sound fab! I never would have thought of that!

  2. Ashley | The Recipe Rebel
    December 10, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I love sticky toffee pudding AND baking with dates! They add such incredible moisture and sweetness. This looks amazing!

    • Julie
      December 10, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      I really loved this – it’s what I had for dinner, in fact!

  3. Crystal @ Food Swoon
    December 10, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    The haters at my house would be all over this Sticky Toffee Pudding! Thanks for the inspiration & Merry Christmas <3

  4. Jules @ WolfItDown
    December 11, 2014 at 2:37 am

    This looks amazing!
    I can’t stand when you order sticky toffee pudding out and you can hardly find the pudding for all the sticky, BUT here, you can pour as much or as little as you like, and both components looks so delicious 😀 I love using dated for baking, they’re so versatile 😀 Thanks for the recipe! x

  5. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    December 11, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Emily showed my boys’ cooking club how to make this and you can imagine how excited everyone was! I LOVE STP.

  6. CM
    December 11, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Looks delicious. Could this recipe be baked in muffin tins for individual puddings?

  7. June
    December 11, 2014 at 9:23 am

    This is definitely one of our favorite puds! I make individual ones in half pint jam jars, load in the toffee sauce after they’re cooked and stick the jars in the freezer. Thirty seconds in a microwave and you’re dining fine on total pudding deliciousness!

  8. Carolyn
    December 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Thank you! Now I know what I’m making for Christmas Eve dinner dessert! Can’t wait!

  9. Inga
    December 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Oh wow, I’m planning to make this very dessert on Sunday. Thanks for the recipe and so entertaining walkabout tale of Downtown/Inglewood from your previous post. love your blog!

  10. Deirdre Reid @ Grabbing the Gusto
    December 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Love the date comparison photo! So true. “Sticky toffee” is all you had to say. This looks fantastic. Tis the season to get fat! :-)

  11. Dawna
    December 29, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Made this for our belated Christmas dinner … fantastic! We were recently in England and tried lots of different versions of “STP”, and this ranks up with the best.

    • Julie
      January 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      So glad to hear it Dawna!!

  12. Ankita Sharma
    March 12, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Nice blog share.

  13. Ninadordev
    March 13, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Excellent post share with us and this blog is impresses more people to reading that blog.

  14. Natalie
    December 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    brown sugar or white sugar?

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