the last dessert standing

I generally don't like to play favourites when it comes to desserts. This is because I like dessert a lot. When dining out, and my wallet is up for i,t I save room for dessert and when I have dinner parties dessert it is usually the first dish I decide on. I like many desserts. I do not believe in comparing a flour-less chocolate cake to a whiskey pear tart. Two different flavours cannot be measured against each other. As the Germans say (instead of "it's like apples and oranges"), they're just two different pairs of shoes. The English saying might be more appropriate in a food context, but the German one has won me over.

That said, I do have a desert island dessert: sticky toffee pudding. This is not a dessert to eat everyday, but it is one to think about everyday and to look forward to. And I think about sticky toffee pudding a lot. I first had it a few years ago at Starfish in Toronto. The obsession began then. Luckily, shortly after the owners of Starfish opened up a more casual restaurant, the Ceili Cottage, in my Toronto neighbourhood. My aunt and I quickly commenced a weekly routine of oysters (I miss you Malpeques) and sticky toffee pudding. Sometimes we share and sometimes we order our own. Either way, I have never left the Ceili Cottage without being in sticky toffee pudding bliss.

Last fall I received a call from my Aunt. She had just picked up the Toronto Life Magazine and in it the owner of the Ceili Cottage had shared the recipe for their sticky toffee pudding. To say that I felt joy is a gross understatement. I certainly have never seen sticky toffee pudding on the menu anywhere in Sweden, or enough places for that matter. Sticky toffee pudding at home would demand a whole other level of self control.

The Ceili Cottage's Sticky Toffee Pudding

from Toronto Life Magazine



1 1/4 cups water
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking power
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 vanilla bean

Toffee sauce

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350/180. Butter a square baking pan. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan and then stir in dates. Stir well and then remove from heat. Let cool and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a medium bowl soften butter with either a fork or a mixer. Add sugar and mix until fluffy. Beat in egg and add vanilla. In a blender, pulse dates and water until smooth. Stir flour and date mixture into sugar, alternatively. Start and end with flour. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Shortly before the cake is ready, make the toffee sauce. Heat butter and sugar in a saucepan until butter melts, stirring frequently. Stir in cream, bring to a boil and then stir occasionally. Serve cake with toffee sauce and softly whipped cream.


The Procrastobaker  – (June 28, 2011 at 1:22 AM)  

oh my goodness thank you SO MUCH for sharing this recipe! sticky toffee pudding is my upmost favourite dessert also (although for the sake of my waistline must be enjoyed in small batches unfortunately!) and i dont get to have it nearly enough! Will definitely be trying this someday, although having the power to make it at home may be a very dangerous thing...

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