Here in the states, if you ask for pudding you’re likely to get some sort of cold, gelatinous custard… but that is hardly the extent of what pudding is. Pudding can, technically, be most any dessert – from the classic rice or tapioca’s, all the way to dumplings, cakes, and trifles.
If you’ve never had sticky toffee pudding, imagine this: A moist little cake, packed full of chopped dates, and drenched in a flow of hot toffee sauce. Now that’s what I call pudding!
English Sticky Toffee Pudding is a fairly traditional dessert – one which I respect, and love as it is – but being the rebel that I am, I decided to put my own spin on things.
Enter: orange zest and candied ginger. These two flavors bring some serious pop to the old classic. Add a splash of Grand Marnier to the toffee sauce, and prepare to meet your new favorite dessert.
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Orange and Ginger
(Recipe adapted from Marie Simmons at The Food Network – this is the most authentic and best reviewed recipe I’ve found)
Makes 6 servings
1 cup + 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup pitted dates
1 cup + 2 TBSP boiling water
2 TBSP fresh orange juice (optional – if omitting the orange, replace with another 2 TBSP water)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)
1 TBSP orange zest (optional)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
2-3 TBSP Grand Marnier (optional – or use rum, bourbon, or other liquor)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped (optional, for topping – can add a splash of liquor here, as well)
Thoroughly grease and flour a tray of mini bundt molds, or grease a 10-inch cake pan or baking dish. Preheat oven to 350f. (180c.).
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
Finely chop the dates. Place them in a bowl, add the baking soda, and pour over the boiling water and orange juice. Set aside.
Finely chop the ginger and zest the orange. Set aside.
Lightly beat together the egg and vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat for 3-4 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat for another minute.
Reduce the speed of your mixer to low, and add the flour mixture in thirds, beating just until incorporated between each addition. Still on low speed, pour in the date mixture, ginger, and orange zest. Beat lightly until just barely combined.
Pour into your prepared cake pan or baking dish (if using molds, as I did, distribute batter evenly, filling each mold no more than 3/4 of the way full to leave room for rising).
Place on the center rack of your preheated oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through to ensure even baking. The cake(s) are done with the top(s) are firm and set, and spring back when gently touched.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving or removing from molds.
In a heavy sauce-pan, combine butter, cream, and brown sugar over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sauce reaches a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring for another 8-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. (If you aren’t sure the sauce is thick enough, drizzle a small amount on a cool plate and tip the plate to one side – this will give you an idea of how runny it will be once cooled).
Remove from heat, stir in the liquor, if using, and drizzle over finished cake(s).
Optionally, place cake(s) under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce begins to bubble. This will not only re-warm the cake, but will allow the sauce to sink in slightly.
Whip cream, if using, and serve alongside.