By Richard Blais
From Try This at Home
Inspired by my love for all things British and the English pudding tradition, this is probably my most classic dessert. It's great after a meal of big, bold flavors, when you want to continue the decadent theme. I like the reduce flavors to reveal their deepest, syrupy nature, and this dessert is a perfect example. The dates add a natural sweetness—and, of course, they're incredibly sticky.
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup brewed espresso
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons sorghum syrup or molasses
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Scotch whiskey
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warmed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1. To make the pudding: Put the dates, water, and espresso in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat, stir in the baking soda, and let stand for 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease a 6-cup nonstick jumbo muffin tin with butter. Set it into a large deep baking dish.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the sorghum syrup and mix well. Drain the soaked dates and add them to the butter mixture, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, with a large rubber spatula, fold the flour into the date mixture until just combined. Divide the batter among muffin cups.
4. Pour enough hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the muffin tin. Bake until the puddings are set and spring back when touched in the center, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand until the water in the baking dish is cool, but the pudding remain warm.
5. To make the sauce: Put the sugar and Scotch into a medium saucepan and stir to moisten the sugar. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until the caramel turns dark amber. Very carefully pour in the cream (it will bubble up) and cook, whisking gently, until very smooth and any bits of caramel have dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time, whisking until melted and combined each time before adding more.
6. Run a knife around each pudding. Place a large cutting board or platter over the pan and invert the pan and board; lift off the pan. Arrange the puddings on dessert plates. Serve the pudding warm, with Scotch sauce drizzled over the top.