Sticky toffee pudding

February 6, 2010 at 11:46 pm (Dessert, Epicurious, Necessarily nonvegan, Pudding, unrated)

Derek has been raving about sticky toffee pudding for a little over a year now.  I finally got to try it when we went to Scotland last September.  I tried a number of different restaurant versions, and although I don’t know exactly what it’s supposed to taste like most of them seemed to miss the mark a little.  Derek wanted to try to make it at home, and I said fine–next time we have company.  Well, a few weeks ago, right before leaving for Spain, we ended up with 5 guests over for dinner.  The menu was mostly Italian (salad with roasted winter veggies and walnuts, white bean soup with fennel and rosemary, and cacio e pepe pasta).   But our dessert was Scottish.

Derek looked around online to try to find a recipe for the kind of moist sticky toffee pudding that he prefers, and ended up selecting a sticky date toffee pudding recipe that had excellent reviews on  I printed out the recipe, but unfortunately didn’t read the reviews myself.  If I had, I would have been more prepared for what followed.

My notes

I used a mix of some small, slightly dry dates and some huge, very moist ones.  I followed the recipe exactly, except that after my dates came to a simmer I turned them a little too low and when the 5-minute timer went off I noticed that they had stopped simmering.  I wasn’t sure how long they had been simmering, so I simmered them a little bit more, but I’m not sure what the total simmer time was in the end.

Since I hadn’t read the reviews, I followed the directions and used “hot water” to make my water bath.  My water was pretty hot though–I think I heated it until almost boiling in my tea kettle.

We checked the pudding after the specified time and a toothpick came out clean, but when we opened it up it was totally goo inside.  We put it back in the oven and let it cook for quite a while longer, but even after another 30 minutes or so it was still quite liquidy in the middle.  Eventually we just gave up and decided to try to eat it.   At that point the outer permiter of the cake was cooked–still moist but quite nice and fluffy.  But the inside was basically cake batter. A couple days later I got around to reading the reviews and discovered that a lot of people had had trouble with the cake not cooking through all the way.  I suspect that the main problem with the recipe is that the author does not specify how much liquid should remain after simmering the dates.  In theory everyone should lose the same amount of steam after simmering for five minutes, but in practice I suspect that the amount of liquid remaining might differ quite a bit.  Certainly, when I poured the date mixture into the batter I thought it looked like way too much liquid for that amount of dry ingredients.  I could be wrong, and the problem could have more to do with the water bath and cooking time then the amount of liquid in the recipe.  But I think that the author should have specified how much liquid should be left after simmering.

Regarding the parts of the cake that did eventually set:  It was quite nice.  I’m not an expert at sticky toffee pudding, but I quite liked it, especially with the dedadent toffee sauce.  A few of the reviewers complained about the ginger flavor, but it didn’t stand out to me at all.  Other reviewers complained about how sweet it was.  The cake (and the sauce) were certainly very sweet.  But there was enough fat in there to balance it out, at least for me.  I would consider cutting the sugar a little though.  Another reviewer suggests using half orange juice instead of all water, and that’s an interesting idea.  It could add a little acidity which would be nice.  Finally, a few reviewers mention adding a little cardamom to the sauce.  Another yummy-sounding twist.

Derek said the cooked part of the cake tasted very good–perfect even.  It definitely wasn’t too datey for him.

1 Comment

  1. yutfdiytdcy said,

    is it veggie im cooking for veggies and want 2 try it

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