Individual puddings, served with Coconut Caramel and marbled with coconut milk.
In Britain, pudding simply means "dessert," and usually takes the form of a moist cake, which is steamed and often served with sauce. This date-speckled dessert is a favorite of the English, drenched in rich toffee and served warm. My version is baked in ramekins, which yields individual servings. Adorned with their toffee lacquer, these tender cakes are the perfect finish to your Christmas supper. I'll be serving mine with cups of strong coffee.
Individual Sticky Toffee Puddings
If you don’t have ramekins, the puddings can be baked in muffin tins, yielding 9 smaller servings. Oil and flour the tins, or line with baking cups. Fill 9 with batter, and decrease baking time by 5-7 minutes.
For the puddings:
4 ounces pitted dates, roughly chopped (10-12 large mejool)
¼ cup boiling water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) vegan margarine
½ cup vegan sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
For the Sticky Toffee Sauce:
½ cup (1/2 stick) vegan margarine
½ cup coconut milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
Heat oven to 350ºF. Oil and flour 6 ramekins, and set aside.
In a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the dates. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes, then transfer to a food processor or blender and process until nearly smooth. Stir in vanilla, and set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
In a large bowl, beat together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add applesauce, and beat again. Fold in flour and date mixtures in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour.
Spoon batter into prepared ramekins. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the tops spring back slightly when pressed or a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
While the puddings bake, make the toffee sauce. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine margarine, coconut milk, and brown sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is completely smooth. Don’t allow the toffee to boil, as it can curdle. The toffee will be runny and satiny and delicious.
Transfer puddings to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently run a small, flexible spatula or paring knife around the edge of each pudding, then invert onto a plate to remove. Pour toffee over the puddings, turning a bit to coat completely, and allow puddings to absorb the sauce for at least 15 minutes. Serve, or cover and store overnight. If serving the next day, gently re-warm the puddings in a 250ºF oven for 10-15 minutes, and drizzle with additional sauce before plating.