If you are casting around for a Christmas dessert, or what to serve at any upcoming holiday party, may I suggest mini sticky toffee puddings. Sticky toffee pudding is alchemy. It consists of a date cake soaked in a buttery toffee sauce, but the flavour combination transcends the fairly humble ingredients it's made from. It doesn't really have any showy, braggart ingredients, nothing hard to source or especially expensive. But the combination is almost magically greater than the sum of its parts. I'm not exaggerating, it's transcendent.
My family have been having STP as Christmas dessert for a few years and we have always made it in the traditional way, in a big pan. To increase toffee sauce-cake permeation I poked lots of holes in the cake with a skewer, hoping get the sauce really soaked in there. But I thought that creating a larger surface area for sauce contact would really help them get thoroughly sauced. I used a miniature bun to bake these and the little nooks and crannies really catch the toffee sauce. If you don't have a mini bundt pan, use a muffin tin or a 8" round cake pan, increasing the baking time to around 50 minutes.
Note: Both puddings and sauce freeze very well. Just reheat sauce and cakes when thawed in a 350° oven.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and extra for the pans
- 8 ounces pitted dates, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter and flour the mini bundt pans or whichever pans you will use. Heat oven to 250° F.
Boil a kettle and combine chopped dates with 1/2 cup boiling water in a small bowl. Cover with a lid or plate and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Blitz the soaked dates in a food processor until a chunky paste forms. Add flour mixture, date paste and vanilla to mixer bowl and mix on medium until just combined, making sure to scrape the bottom.
Using an ice cream scoop fill bundt pans 2/3 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. I found that they released from the pan best when they were still hot. Wiggle a toothpick around the edge of the pans to help unstick them, and pull them gently away from the edge with your fingers once they are cool enough to not burn you. Once they are pretty loose, pry em out.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients over low heat in a small saucepan. Simmer about 10 minutes.
To serve, pour warm sauce over mini puds, and add a little bit of cream or ice cream if you like.
Photos: Tyrel Hiebert