An unforgettable guide to cooking for a crowd.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 cup heavy cream, heated to steaming
- Softened butter and flour, for the ramekins
- 1∕3 cup plus 1 tablespoon stout, preferably Guinness
- 1∕3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped fresh dates (preferably Medjool) or dried dates
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2∕3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- Whipped cream, for serving
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a tall, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla bean halves and cook, stirring oft en, until the brown sugar is melted and boiling. Gradually whisk in the cream, being sure that the mixture does not boil over, and return to a boil. Cook at a steady boil, stirring oft en, until the sauce has thickened to about 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and let stand until warm. Remove the vanilla bean halves and use the tip of a small knife to scrape the seeds back into the sauce; discard the bean pods. (The cooled sauce can be refrigerated in a covered bowl for up to 1 day. Reheat the sauce in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking often, until barely warm.)
To make the cakes: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter and flour the insides of six 6-ounce ramekins, tapping out the excess flour.
Bring the stout and dates to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, and let stand for 5 minutes, until the dates are softened. Puree the date mixture in a blender. Transfer the puree to a small bowl to cool slightly.
Beat the butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the brown sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla extract. Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with two equal additions of the date puree, mixing just until smooth and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins and smooth the tops.
Place the ramekins on an 18-by-13-inch half-sheet pan. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes.
One at a time, protecting your hands with a kitchen towel, run a knife around the inside of the ramekins, being sure to free the cakes from the bottom. Invert and unmold each cake onto a dessert plate. (The cakes can be cooled, transferred to a baking dish, covered with aluminum foil, and stored at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Reheat in a 350F oven until warm, about 10 minutes. When warm, use a metal spatula to transfer each to a dessert plate.) Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Spoon about 1⁄3 cup toffee sauce over the top. Serve immediately.
About this recipe
“In this dessert inspired by the sinful flavors of British sticky toffee pudding (pudding means any kind of dessert in British English, not just our American soft ones), stout gives the cakes much more flavor than the typical classic version. For the best, “stickiest” texture, use fresh dates instead of dried—although either will work.
If you substitute chopped dried dates for the fresh Medjool dates, they will take about 5 minutes longer to soften in the warm stout mixture. Chop the dates yourself by hand, and skip the pre-chopped ones, as they are too dry and sweet.”– Chris Santos
Excerpted from the book SHARE by Chris Santos. Copyright © 2017 by Chris Santos. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.