Biga's Famous Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Biga's Famous Sticky Toffee Pudding

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This is THE signature dessert at Biga on the Banks. Chef Bruce Auden gave me the incredible recipe, which I understand was inspired by his mother. It's actually fairly simple to make. There are a couple of tricks to make it easy: first, make sure you soak the dates and add the baking soda to soften them. The other secret is to steam the puddings in their ramekins.

Ingredients

CUSTARD SAUCE

  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp honey

PUDDING

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the ramekins
  • 1/2 pound whole pitted dates, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup boiling water, plus more for the water bath
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

TOFFEE SAUCE

  • 2 1/3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • pinch salt

GARNISH

  • Fresh raspberries

Recipe Info

To prepare 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 reaches a 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 tempered egg yolk mixture into the simmering hot milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is quite thick (heavily coats the back of a spoon) and registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer about 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture 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 immediately).

To prepare the pudding

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease six 4-ounce ramekins with butter 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.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and dark brown sugar together on medium-low speed until just mixed, about 1 minute. Add the molasses and vanilla and beat until just combined. Scrape down the paddle and bowl using a rubber spatula. Resume mixing on medium-low, add the egg and beat until just combined. Add the date mixture and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, making sure not to splash it into the puddings. Cover the pan tightly with foil, crimping the edges to seal. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the puddings are slightly puffed and a butter knife inserted into the center of the puddings comes out clean.

To prepare the toffee sauce

Meanwhile, 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 degrees. Carefully whisk in the cream and salt and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass measuring cup. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep warm.

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 the cold custard sauce, as desired, into each bowl. Overturn the ramekins into 6 large, shallow individual bowls, releasing the puddings. Pour the warm toffee sauce, as desired, over the top of each pudding. Garnish with 3 raspberries and serve immediately.

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