Yesterday a friend visited who I hadn’t seen for over a year. It’s always nice to catch up over a steaming dessert topped with vanilla ice cream. I’d been meaning to try a variation of sticky toffee pudding in the slow-cooker for quite some time, and her visit gave me inspiration to finally test it out. She gave the recipe a thumbs up, saying it reminded her of desserts she’d had in South Africa. This was a good sign, I’d replied, as it is a British dessert, after all.
The first time I tried it was last summer at about this time, while Husband (then “Boyfriend”) and I travelled around Europe. A lovely Kenyan ex-pat welcomed us into her home in London, where we quickly became good friends with her and her children. We shared meals together, her adorable little girls “helped” in the kitchen, and her older son gave helpful touring advice.
One night, when her family was out, we dashed to the market in search of quick eats. I’d heard raves about sticky toffee pudding happily found a frozen package at the store. A few minutes in the microwave, and a new dessert favorite made it’s way into my heart. Now, of course, I’m sure that homestyle puddings fresh from the oven are best, but believe me, this was out of this world creamy, buttery, gooey and sweet. Oh how I miss globe trotting, euro markets and tiny little specialty stores, and kind, loving, strangers who make you a part of their family. (We’re members of CouchSurfing.com, check it out!)
Sticky Toffee Pudding
adapted from Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. plus 2T. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. boiling water mixed with 1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 c. butter
1 c. dates, chopped I used figs, as I couldn’t find dates at the supermarket
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. butter
2 c. very hot water
Place dates in boiling water mixed with soda. Let stand. Sift together flour and baking soda. Meanwhile, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients and date goo alternatively beginning and ending with flour. Pour into Crockpot. Sprinkle with topping sugar and butter bits, and pour hot water atop. Cook on high for 2 hours or until tester comes out clean. Let rest 30 minutes before serving.
**Notes This recipe is tasty, but many of the other versions online which called for whole milk or cream to make the topping caramel are probably richer and creamier, not to mention more traditional. My experiment shows that Crockpot puddings are successful, and next time I’ll be sure to make this up with a more traditional recipe, like this one.