Like Plum Pudding, this dessert is really a cake. Generations ago, it was prepared and then dumped in a bag of any material a family had. Being tied as tightly as possible, it was then dunked in a pot of boiling water and left for an hour or so to “steam”. When it was removed from the pot and the bag, this dense cake was as prized as a Cracker Jack prize. Well, maybe back in the 70s, how bout “was prized as a new ps3”. Boy how times have changed.
Here is a recipe that my father, Chef Jack Bailey, prepared many, many times over the years. He told me that his father, the first Yankee Chef, made this for years at the restaurants he was employed in. I do have a recipe for Toffee Pudding dating back in my family to 1888 and it is almost exactly made the same way, using raisins instead of dates and substituting molasses in lieu of brown sugar. I have got to try it soon, but in the meantime, try this time-honored classic Christmas dish and you will see why it has withstood the test of many kitchens.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
This comforting Pudding lives up to its name! Serves 6 to 8.
1 c. heavy or whipping cream
1 1/4 c. butter or margarine
2 1/4 c. brown sugar
6 oz. pitted dates(try orange or raspberry-kissed dates as well)*
1 1/4 c. apple juice or cider, boiling
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an pie or cake pan with wax paper and spray it well with nonstick cooking spray. Place cream, 1 cup of the butter and 1 3/4 cups of the brown sugar in a saucepan on medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes, until the sauce begins to turn brown and thicken slightly. Pour half into the prepared pan. Save the rest of the sauce.
Place dates in a bowl and add boiling apple juice, mix and let cool. Place the remaining butter , the remaining sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer. Beat on medium high for about 5 minutes, until well creamed. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the date mixture.
Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Fold into the egg mixture until evenly incorporated. Pour into the pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 300° F and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and firm when touched lightly.
*And yes, you can substitute raisins or figs for the dates.
To serve: Slice it as you would pie and place on individual plates. Drizzle with the warmed reserved sauce.