To follow the roasted goose we served on Christmas (as mentioned in my last post) Jonathan baked sticky toffee pudding, following a recipe I clipped from Bon Appetit. It’s a confusing dish for Americans because it’s not pudding (it’s cake!) and it doesn’t feature toffee (the Brits call caramel toffee). Language barrier notwithstanding, it’s a terrific dessert. Sweet and decadent. Even more so when we plated it atop a generous spoonful of vanilla custard we had leftover from the morning’s pastry breakfast. We also opted to top the pudding with roasted hazelnuts and pecans.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour plus more for pan
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
- Special equipment: A 6-cup Bundt pan or 6 one-cup Bundt pan molds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour Bundt pan. Bring dates and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan with tall sides. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside; let cool.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend (mixture will be grainy). Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture. Pour batter into mold.
Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert pudding onto rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Bring sugar, cream, and butter to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in brandy, if using, and vanilla. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm gently before using.
Cut cake into wedges. Serve with sauce and whipped cream.