I successfully made sticky toffee pudding yesterday! I was very proud of myself. This is not the type of pudding Americans think of as pudding. It's like a very moist cake with wonderful toffee sauce on top. Absolutely delicious! One of the things I forgot to tell my people before coming to Ireland was to order this dessert somewhere along the way. Oops! Here is the recipe - I think it tastes pretty authentic.
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons molasses
6 ounces chopped dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup carmelized ginger
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and butter an 8 1/2 inch porcelain souffle mold, or similar-sized baking dish. (If it's metal, you may want to decrease the baking time.)
2. Make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, brown sugar, and molasses to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.
3. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Pour half the sauce into the prepared souffle mold and place the mold in the freezer, and reserve the other half for serving.
4. To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Add the ginger, then set aside, but keep it slightly warm.
5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
6. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, heat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla.
7. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining lour mixture until just mixed. Don't overbeat the batter.
8. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
9. Remove the pudding from the oven, and let cool slightly before serving.
Serving: Spoon portions of the pudding into serving bowls and douse with additional warm toffee sauce. Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream are good accompaniments, although it is also good just as it is.
Note: To make the pudding in advance, bake the pudding without the toffee in the bottom. Let cool, then cover until close to serving time. Poke the pudding about fifteen times with a chopstick. Distribute half of the sauce over the top, cover with foil, then re-warm in a 300F oven, for 30 minutes.