With winter thankfully fast disappearing around Paris, it’s about time I posted my favourite comfort-food dessert recipe, known affectionately in our family as S.T.P. or Sticky Toffee Pudding. Except I make this with a grated apple twist to the classic into a Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding – just to add a little extra fruit to the decadent luscious toffee scrumptiousness!
Why haven’t I posted this before? It goes against my Frenchie-style eating habits: I love dessert but shy away from over-sugared filling puddings. This is the one exception – and the version below is my final answer to this most delicious dilemma called Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome.
Another reason? I already have a version of it in my first cookbook. For some fun, I converted the Sticky Toffee Pudding into a macaron for Mad About Macarons – making it an entirely gluten-free version. I also made them into a giant macaron dessert for the book’s macaron dessert chapter, a kind of Xtra Large S.T.P. macaron!
Funnily enough, some American critics initially thought that S.T.P. was a “bit too British” for a macaron book – but little did they know that the recipe for sticky toffee pudding may well have originated in Canada, just like my Scottish Granny’s Matrimonial Cake (oaty date squares).
As a youngter, my parents would often drive my wee brother and I down to the Lake District. It didn’t take us long to discover THE highlight of any of our trips there: we’d make a mandatory stop at the legendary Cartmel Village Shop for a S.T.P. dose from their “Home of Sticky Toffee”.
I distinctly remember the difference over many other sticky toffee puddings we tried in Scotland: it was distinctly dark and lush, covered in the darkest ever toffee sauce.
Living in France has meant the necessity of making this at home, as it’s not something we can just run out to our local pâtisserie or boulangerie and find – so this Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding was created along the way. It’s often requested by my beau-père, Jean-Pierre, who’s accent is adorable: can we have more of that steeecky toafee pood-eeeng?
Well, here it is, beau-papa.
Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding
There are two ways of making this recipe:
Normally it’s made as a flat cake, batter sitting (nearly floating) on top of a pool of toffee sauce in a buttered ovenproof pie or gratin dish and serve spooned into pudding bowls or – in this case – teacups, inspired by Carina Contini’s family recipe for Sticky Ginger & Date Pudding in her Kitchen Garden Cookbook.
I adapted the recipe, cutting down slightly on the butter and sugar and added apple, since my Granny always mixed dates with apple – it’s a deliciously nostalgic thing I can’t help continuing.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome
If you’ve been smitten with this pudding, you’ll totally understand. The cake version has one HUGE problem: we normally have at least second portions and it can get out of control. It’s what we call the Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome. So, to avoid such sticky toffee impulses, my preferred method is to pour the batter into individual silicone moulds. It’s just enough. Full. Stop.
Moreover, they’re so easy to freeze when removed from their silicone moulds and reheat when needed – making them so handy to serve stress-free for a dinner party later!
We eat half and freeze the rest before anyone can ask for more.
No second portions – unless you want a sticky toffee pudding macaron?
Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding Recipe
Firstly, make the sticky toffee sauce: you’ll need this not just for pouring when it’s served, but also for pouring underneath the batter to make the cakes beautifully sticky.
In order to get the best, dark sauce, use soft dark muscovado sugar. If you can’t find this in speciality épiceries in France, then use Vergeoise Brun.
Prepare the date paste adding water, bicarbonate of soda and grate in a peeled apple. Make the batter and fold in the date and apple mixture.
Pour in the toffee sauce to about 1/4 of the way then top with the batter, leaving 1/3 space at the top for the cake batter to rise. Bake for about 30 minutes and serve with the toffee sauce. That’s it!
An apple addition to the lush Sticky Toffee Pudding classic recipe, served individually in a pool of the darkest toffee sauce. The puddings and sauce also freeze extremely well. Just reheat them separately and serve when you need a dose of Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding! I use briochette or muffin silicone moulds, but traditional buttered dariole moulds are also good.
- 175 g (6oz) butter, unsalted
- pinch salt fleur de sel
- 250 g (9oz) dark Muscovado sugar Vergeoise Brun or soft dark brown sugar
- 225 g (8oz) whipping cream (30% fat)
- 175 g (6oz) pitted dates roughly chopped
- 175 ml (6fl oz) water
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 apple (e.g. Granny Smith) peeled & grated
- 75 g (3oz) butter, unsalted
- 110 g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar (Muscovado)
- 2 eggs organic
- 150 g (5.5oz) plain flour (all purpose)
- 1 tsp baking powder (no need if use self-raising flour above)
- 1 tsp ground ginger optional
Melt the butter, sugar and cream in a large saucepan over medium heat, then once dissolved, turn down the heat to low and stir occasionally until the sauce becomes smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool.
In a saucepan, cover the dates with the water and bring to the boil. Add the baking soda then mash until a smooth paste. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then stir in the grated apple until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl or in a large stand-mixer until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, flour and ginger (if using). Fold in the date and apple mixture until mixed together.
Pour 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of each silicone mould (or into a buttered gratin dish if you prefer the cake-like version). Top with the batter until 1/3 from the top, giving enough room for the batter to rise. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the moulds after 5 minutes cooling and place directly on serving dishes. Reheat the toffee sauce and pour over each pudding.
The puddings and sauce freeze well. Once the puddings are cooled, chill then transfer to a zip-lock bag or containers - likewise for the sauce. Just defrost and reheat before serving.