Okay, so my whole “no fruit in dessert” theory seems to be blowing up in my face since so far, two of my three weeks’ desserts contain fruit. Despite this, I stand by my rule that fruit doesn’t belong in dessert. Or, maybe I’ll amend it by saying non-fruit desserts are better than fruit desserts….ugh. In any case, this week’s dessert is one of my faves: sticky toffee pudding. It’s sweet, cake-y and perfect served warm with ice cream.
Naturally more than one wants to lay claim to this marvelous creation, so its origin is not quite clear. The consensus seems to be that it was first served by Francis Coulson at his Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in the 1960s. Whether or not this is the case is irrelevant. All that matter is that it exists.
I ate the best version of sticky toffee pudding at Rules Restaurant. The oldest restaurant in London, Rules is known for serving traditional British foods and therefore, on my visit, I had to get the pudding. It was the first time I’d had it, and when I learned that the ingredient list contained dates, I was in disbelief. Again, my fruit theory shot down.
Anyway, the version I’ve used here I borrowed from the English queen of the kitchen, Nigella Lawson with a few tweaks of my own. It takes less than ten minutes to throw together and is richer than the ingredients would suggest. The traditional recipe calls for dates, but since I just happened to have prunes in the house, I subbed out, and it tasted just as good. It’s a little different that most recipes I found that require making the pudding cake and the sauce separately. In this version, the liquid that starts out on the top some how sinks to the bottom of the crock and creates the sticky sauce, making this a one bowl, one-stop-shop.
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 7 ounces chopped prunes
- pinch cinnamon
- 3/4 cup plus 2 TB dark brown sugar
- 1 ounce unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and butter a 11/2-litre capacity casserole dish.
- Start with the cake. Combine the dark brown sugar with the flour in a large bowl. In a separate cup, beat the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and melted butter and then pour this mixture over the sugar and flour, stirring to combine. Fold in the prunes and add this cake batter into the baking dish.
- Make the sauce: Sprinkle over the cake batter the dark brown sugar and dot with the butter. Pour over the boiling water (I know- sounds weird, but trust me) and transfer to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top of the pudding should be springy and spongy when it's cooked (you may need about 10 minutes more); underneath, the butter, sugar and boiling water will have turned into a rich, sticky sauce.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream. Or whipped cream. Or, if you're awesome, both.
Photo courtesy of Tomato. Lacking mint, she improvised with basil.
Give it a go. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Cheers!