Puddings in England are any dessert – except for cookies which are called biscuits! Confusing, I know. So, these “puddings” are actually little date cakes with a caramel like glaze. These sticky date puddings are perfect with a cup of tea on cold winter evening. A perfect British dessert for trimming the tree!
by volume by weight
1/2 cup brown sugar 99 grams sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream 57 grams heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter 57 grams butter
2 tablespoons rum or vanilla 24 grams rum or vanilla
1¼ cups water 300 grams water
1 tablespoon vanilla 12 grams vanilla
1¼ cup chopped dates 220 grams chopped dates
1 teaspoon baking soda 6 grams baking soda
1¼ cups all purpose flour 150 grams all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 4 grams baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 2 grams salt
4 tablespoons soft butter 57 grams soft butter
1/2 cup sugar 99 grams sugar
2 large eggs 136 grams eggs
To make the sauce, combine the brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter in a saucepan.
Whisk until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a simmer for one minute and continue to whisk. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
To make the puddings, bring the water, dates, and vanilla to a boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. It will bubble and foam up.
Cover the mixture and let it sit while you mix the remaining ingredients.
Heat the oven to 350F. Mix the butter and sugar together by hand. Don’t use a mixer because it will add too much air.
Add the eggs one at a time and stir to completely incorporate after each addition.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and then add alternately with the dates and their liquid. (Yes, use all of the hot water that the dates are steeping in as well.) Mix until smooth. The batter will be thin.
Divide evenly among buttered ramekins.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes. The puddings should be slightly jiggly in the center. Bake for another five minutes, just until the puddings are set. Be sure not to overbake! Remove from the oven and let the puddings stand for five minutes before unmolding.
Use a small palette knife to help loosen the puddings from the ramekins.
Although these sticky date puddings are delicious the way the recipe is written, this dessert can also be made with figs. (Then it becomes the figgy pudding of Christmas carols.) If you are a nut lover, add a cup of chopped nuts of your choice. English walnuts would be a perfect selection.
These puddings are moist and dense and can be made ahead of time and lightly warmed when you are ready to serve them. Keep the puddings and the sauce separate and warm them gently. Pour the sauce over just as you are ready to serve. Creme fraiche, whipped cream, or ice cream are all wonderful accompaniments.