Sticky Toffee Pudding for Almost Everyone
Say 'dessert' to a group of people and you will not get a standard response. Some will hoot, others will cringe. In contrast, ask a group of kids about dessert and you are likely to only hear the hooting. When did some of us lose our innocence and sense of guiltless pleasure? Well, it isn't too late. If you would like to bring the romance back to your meals, you might look at inviting dessert back to the table.
This dessert has English roots but is actually what us Canadians would call a moist cake and sauce combo, not pudding. This version has been modified to bring us back to whooping it up when asked if we want dessert - that means everyone can have some. Coconut sugar brings down the glycemic load and it can be served to vegans, and those unable to tolerate dairy, nuts and gluten. If you are looking for comfort food that leaves you feeling satisfied and comfortable (!) you just might have found it.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
If you want to go all the way and make your own almond cream, it is well worth it. If not, skip down a few lines for your convenience or nut free options.
Soak 1/2 cup raw almonds in water for 4 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain the soaking water and pop the nuts out of their skins. Blend them in any blender for 1-2 minutes with 1 cup water until smooth. Pour through a double cheese cloth, a fine sieve or a nut milk bag so you just have the liquid, saving the bits as they will go in the pudding below. Store the almond cream and bits in the fridge until you make the rest of your recipe.
You can skip this step by using a prepared cream from a non-dairy source or if dairy is invited to your table, enjoy the selection of rich and creamy organic and local creams. Either of these options will also make the dessert nut free.
For the sauce:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2/3 cup almond cream or cream of your choice (see above)
Melt all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and gradually bring it to a boil, whisking fairly constantly. Once it starts boiling, turn it down a bit (keep it boiling) and set your timer for 3 minutes, whisking gently but constantly. At the 3 minute mark, the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
Remove from heat and pour 1/2 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch square pan and place the pan in the freezer. Set aside the rest of the sauce, uncovered at the back of your stove (no heat).
For the pudding:
Soak 2 Tbsp ground flax (brown or golden) in 1/3 cup water, set aside to allow time to gel, or use 2 eggs if not making the vegan version (the flax version works great and adds fibre and an earthiness)
1 cup medjool dates, pits removed and roughly chopped (other date varieties can work as long as they are fairly soft)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1/8 cup coconut oil (softened)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup flour (we suggest unbleached organic, whole spelt or for gluten free Namaste Perfect Flour Blend works beautifully!)
The bits leftover from making your almond cream (or 2 Tbsp flour if you didn't make your own cream)
1 tsp baking powder (add an extra 1/2 tsp of baking powder if you are using gluten free flour)
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and ground cloves (a wee bit more if you like it spicy)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
vanilla coconut milk ice cream (or your favourite version of!)
Preheat the oven to 350F
Put the dates, baking soda and boiling water in a glass or metal bowl and cover with a plate to keep the heat in. Set aside to allow the dates to soften.
Whisk together the coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup and flax mixture (or eggs). Add the dry ingredients right on top of the wet. Put your soaking dates and water in the blender and if you made your own cream, add your leftover almond bits to the date mix. Blend for about 30 seconds. This does not need to be smooth. Add the date and almond bit mixture to the bowl along with the walnuts. Mix everything together until just combined.
Take the baking dish out of the freezer and slowly pour your batter over the cooled toffee. Put your pudding in the oven for about 30 minutes until it is firm enough in the centre that you can press lightly without your fingers going through.
Take out of the oven and poke about a dozen holes in the top with a fork. Drizzle the rest of the sauce over the top and place it back in the oven under the broiler (on low is good). Set your timer for 1 minute and watch closely so as not to burn all of your hard work!
Remove from oven and cut into 9 squares. Scoop out with a spoon and cover with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Posted by Amy Buckman, Community Ambassador, Calgary Amaranth Stores