Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard Sauce

My college-age daughter spent Spring Term in Great Britain and had a wonderful time thanks to her dedicated professors who organized a great trip. She has a sweet tooth like me, so wherever she ate she ordered dessert. She sampled a lot of clotted cream ice cream but her favorite of all the treats was sticky toffee pudding with custard sauce. When she returned home, she asked if I could teach her to make it. I had acquired an excellent recipe from my cousin Danielle, who is a very talented pastry chef in Seattle and has a lovely food blog called Culinary Vagabond. My husband had a conference in Seattle not too long ago. I was supposed to accompany him and spend time with Danielle, but I was unable to go. He got together with Danielle and her husband Brian and had a great visit. She cooked wonderful food for him and sent him home with a few individual sticky toffee puddings for me to sample. They were small molded cakes dipped in toffee sauce, moist, delicate, and addictively delicious.  I adjusted Danielle’s recipe slightly for our drier climate and altitude and baked the cake in a 9×13 pan. The custard sauce is my addition. This dessert is rich so you do not need a large serving. It is a great autumn dessert, perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. It takes a bit of time to prepare, so it is best to do it in steps over the course of two days. Both the custard and toffee sauces develop more flavor with an overnight chill in the refrigerator, so make both sauces the day before serving. (They thicken as they cool, so gently reheat them for serving).  Prepare the cake the day you plan to serve it.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Custard Sauce
10 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a 4-quart saucepan combine egg yolks, sugar, cream, and milk. Whisk to mix well, then turn heat to medium low. Slice the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, then scrape the beans into the custard. Add the scraped vanilla pod to the custard as well. Cook, stirring often, until the custard thickens and the temperature is 170 degrees. It should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain custard into an 8-cup bowl. Whisk in vanilla extract. Pull the used vanilla pod out of the strainer and return it to the custard. It will continue to infuse flavor as the custard cools. Cover the custard directly with plastic wrap and chill at least 6-8 hours, preferably overnight. Makes 5 cups.

Toffee Sauce
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a 3-quart saucepan melt butter on medium low heat, then whisk in the brown sugar and stir until the sugar begins to liquify and dissolves. Add cream, molasses, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Cook until the sauce simmers. Let simmer for a minute or two until the mixture looks like smooth caramel. Remove pot from heat and pour into a heat-proof jar and screw on lid. Let chill overnight. Makes 2-1/2 to 3 cups.

2 cups dried pitted dates, chopped
1 cup boiling water
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened (3 sticks)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
generous pinch of kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a metal 9×13 pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper. If using a glass pan just grease it and do not use parchment. Place chopped dates in a food processor and pulse until the dates are more finely chopped. Transfer dates to a pie plate and cover them with 1 cup boiling water. Let sit about 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the cake. In a mixing bowl combine butter and brown sugar and beat 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition, stop to scrape down the bowl. Add molasses and vanilla. Mix. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with milk until you have a smooth batter. Don’t overmix. Partially drain the dates, leaving about 2 tablespoons water in the chopped fruit. Place softened dates and liquid in food processor and purée until you have a fairly smooth, applesauce-like consistency. It is fine to leave it just little chunky if you prefer. Gently fold puréed date mixture into the cake batter. Pour batter into the prepared 9×13 pan and spread evenly with spatula. Bake for 30-40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through baking. The cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. Slice cake into squares. Warm toffee sauce and custard sauce separately. Place about 1/4 cup of custard in the bottom of an individual dessert bowl. Place a slice of cake on top of the custard and drizzle with several tablespoons of warmed toffee sauce. Serves 12-15.

This entry was posted in Cakes, Christmas, Custards, Desserts, Fruit, Sauces, Thanksgiving. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard Sauce

  1. Zina Woods says:

    Judy and Scott – Thank you so much for the lovely “Autumn Harvest” last evening! Not only was it scrumptious and indicative of a talented food grower and a food specialist par excellente (!), it was delightful to actually visit with people and share life’s experiences and challenges. Thank you for providing such a delightful setting! Love, Zina
    P.S. And thank you for the tomato! I did take one. If you need it back, tell me quick!

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