Biga’s Famous Sticky Toffee Pudding
This decadent cakelike dessert is the favorite menu item at Biga on the Banks in San Antonio, Texas. Chef-owner Bruce Auden has more James Beard nominations than he has wall space, but of all the inventive New American dishes people come to Biga to try, the sticky toffee pudding is the British-inspired showstopper that they return for.
  1. For the Custard Sauce: Bring the milk and vanilla seeds and pod to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the milk begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low. Whisk the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture. Slowly whisk the now-tempered egg yolk mixture into the simmering hot milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is quite thick and heavily coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Mixture should register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  2. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and stir in the honey. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, or place in the freezer to chill if needed immediately. Custard should be well chilled before using.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter and dark brown sugar together on medium-low speed until just mixed, about 1 minute. Add the molasses and vanilla and beat just to combine. Scrape down the paddle and bowl using a rubber spatula. Continue to mix on medium low, add the egg, and beat just until blended. Add the date mixture and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating just until blended.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins and place them in the prepared roasting pan. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, making sure that you don’t splash any of the water into the puddings. Cover the pan tightly with foil, crimping the edges to seal. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until the puddings are slightly puffed and a knife inserted into the center of the puddings comes out clean.
  5. For the Toffee Sauce: While the puddings are baking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the light brown sugar and cook, whisking occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 250°F. Carefully whisk in the cream and salt and bring to a simmer. Be careful, as the mixture will spit and sputter furiously. Whisk just until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass measuring cup. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep warm.
  6. To serve, transfer the hot puddings to a wire rack to cool slightly. Run a paring knife around the edges of the ramekins to loosen the puddings. Pour a portion of the cold custard sauce, as desired, into each serving bowl. Invert the ramekins into the center of the custard sauce in each bowl and remove the parchment paper. Pour desired portion of the warm toffee sauce over the top of each pudding. Garnish each with 3 raspberries and serve immediately.
  7. For the Pudding: Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 6 (4-ounce) ramekins and line the bottoms with small rounds of parchment paper. Arrange the ramekins in a small roasting pan lined with a clean dish towel to prevent them from sliding around in the pan. Combine the dates, baking soda, and 2/3 cup boiling water in a medium bowl and set aside.
Recipe Notes

This recipe is provided courtesy of Biga on the Banks in San Antonio.