Chocolate Toffee Pudding with Warm Toffee Sauce and Fresh Cream (serves 6-8)

When I want to have friends over for a little dinner party my night of choice is Friday.  By the end of the week I am always itching to have a bit of fun and Friday is the beginning of my weekend so why not jump in feet first!

Our splendid dessert

Our splendid dessert

If I lived in a place where I could walk to a decent restaurant and sit with friends over some good food wine then that would also be part of my weekend agenda. Alas this is not the case, so I have learned to create an intimate restaurant atmosphere in my house and, sometimes that includes serving a luscious dessert that I imagine being brought to my table by some white-aproned waiter.

Small Friday night Dinner Party

Small Friday night Dinner Party

This past Friday was one such evening in my little pretend Chez Tess bistro and I made a dinner that allowed me to sit like one of my customers and enjoy the atmosphere along with everyone else. This dessert was something I could prep ahead of time and then pop in the oven while we were eating dinner. It is based on a great Jamie Oliver recipe but I did change some of the ingredients  both out of a desire to make it my own, as well as for some practical reasons: I didn’t want to tromp off to the supermarket to get self-rising flour for one!

Medjool dates

Medjool dates are prized for their sweet flavor and large size (also full of fiber!)

He also used ovaltine which is an instant sweet malted-milk powder and I didn’t have it, or care to use it so I went with unsweetened cocoa powder instead to give it a deeper chocolate taste (it would also curb the sweetness). The thing that would have been a sin to mess with was the addition of dates. He used fresh fruit but I had some unctuous dried Medjool dates that I knew would work the same if not better.

This was part of our main course - truly scrumptious

This was part of our main course – truly scrumptious

Dinner was amazing but the dessert is how I will remember this evening. Making the effort to create an intimate relaxing atmosphere and cooking dinner for my friends is worth mustering up that last ounce of energy I have left by Friday. I hope you are inspired.

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You will need:

8 oz dry medjool dates (about 2 cups) – pitted

1 tsp baking soda

6 tbs unsalted butter – room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp pumpkin spice (found in spice aisle)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbs plain yogurt or sour cream

for Toffee Sauce:

8 tbs unsalted butter

1/4 cup soft light brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cram

Whipped Cream:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tsp confectioners sugar

Method:

Preheat oven 350*

1 – Put pitted dates in a bowl and sprinkle with baking soda and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 5 minutes and then drain. Pop into your food processor and blend until you have a nice puree. Set aside.

Pulverize in blender

Pulverize in blender

2 – Place dry ingredients in a small bowl (flour, spices, baking powder and cocoa powder) and mix together with a hand whisk. In large bowl cream the sugar and butter together until it is pale and smooth (about 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and whisk. Add the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Fold in the yogurt (or sour cream) and then the date puree. Place in a buttered oven proof dish (I used a loaf pan but any dish will do) and place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

make batter

make batter

3 – Place on a wire rack to cool (remembering to serve while still warm!)

bake pudding

bake pudding

4 –  Make toffee sauce by placing the toffee ingredients into a small bowl and heating on low heat until everything is melted and smooth and has taken on a darker, richer color.

Make Toffee Sauce

Make Toffee Sauce

5 – Next add the heavy cream to a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of confectioners sugar and whip until nice and thick.

whip cream

whip cream

Place pudding on the bottom and spoon some toffee sauce over top and a dollop of whipped cream. I added a little flourish of grated chocolate to finish it off!

Chocolate Toffee Pudding with Freshly Whipped Cram and Toffee Sauce

Chocolate Toffee Pudding with Freshly Whipped Cream and Warm Toffee Sauce

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