I don't know how you celebrate Cinco de Mayo but my new tradition is celebrating with this OMG dessert.
For years I thought sticky toffee pudding was a super complicated recipe, which means I never bothered to make it. Turns out, I was deceived. What a loss. Last summer, after my Aunt Colleen passed away, my cousin, her son, took it upon himself to scan hundreds and hundreds of her recipes. This was not only a fitting tribute to a great cook, it was a tangible way for those of us who had enjoyed her cooking to continue the legacy by making some of her classic dishes. Thanks to Colleen I made sticky toffee pudding for my first time at Easter. (In a dutch oven, no less.) Tonight I decided to try the recipe for a second time. Using a conventional oven with cute little ramekins.
The trick to this dessert is two-fold. First, undercook it just slightly; not so it's unsafe to eat, but a little jiggly in the center. Second, you simply must must drench the pudding in a heaping pile of sauce, topping that with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream and a little sprinkle of cinnamon. Divine.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
1 cup chopped dried dates
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup flour (I used pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
For the sauce:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat eight ramekins with cooking spray and arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the dates and baking soda. Pour the boiling water over the dates and set aside. In a food processor, combine the butter and sugar and process until thoroughly incorporated. With the processor running, add the eggs one at a time and process until smooth. If needed, stop the processor and scrape down the sides.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into the mixture, then use a spoon or silicone spatula to gently fold in the dry ingredients. Stir in the date mixture and vanilla and rum extract. Spoon the batter into the ramekins and bake for about 25 minutes. Longer if you are making one big cake.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. When you the cakes are done, if the tops of the cakes have domed during cooking (expanded above the rim of the ramekin) use a serrated knife to trim and discard the dome, making the cakes level with the rim of the ramekin.
To serve, pool a bit of toffee sauce in the center of each serving plate. Drizzle the top of the cake with additional sauce. Devour warm.