In a column about famous and infamous recipe mistakes that I wrote for the Toronto Star in 2008, I confessed to not being happy with the Sticky Toffee Pudding in my latest book: Dish. Here is the amazing version I came up with after that confession, with help from top Toronto pastry chef and good friend Joanne Yolles. It is definitely a winner.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
The tricks to this are using Medjool dates (pricey but worth it) and pouring the hot toffee sauce over the still-warm cake.
1 cup water
3 tbsp strong coffee
1 tbsp brandy, scotch or rum
1 cup coarsely chopped pitted Medjool dates
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3⁄4 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup 35% whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 8-inch/2 L square baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
In small saucepan, bring water, coffee and brandy to boil. Add dates; stir well. Remove from heat.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In electric mixer, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In small food processor, pulse dates with their liquid briefly just until chunky, not smooth.
Beat or stir flour mixture into sugar/butter mixture alternately with date mixture, beginning and ending with flour until batter is thick and smooth. Pour into prepared pan; smooth top with knife.
Bake in oven 30 to 35 minutes or until browned, springy to touch and tester comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make Toffee Sauce. In saucepan, cook sugar, butter and cream over low heat until slightly thickened and brown, a few minutes.
While hot, poke holes in top of pudding with skewer. Slowly pour over about two-thirds of Toffee Sauce; reserve remainder to serve with pudding.
Serve pudding warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or crème fraiche and reserved warmed sauce.
Makes about 8 servings.