I don't usually post recipes, but when I don't I get all kinds of complaints that I'm selfish and rude for not sharing the wealth. So, here you go.
My personal changes to the recipe/directions:
1) At the last minute I realized that I was out of vanilla (ARGH!), but to my surprise they were just fine without it. Lucky me.
2) Also, the recipe says to serve with ice cream or creme Anglaise but you don't need it.
3) I used a cap full of imitation rum flavor and it was perfect. We don't drink, so I hate having to run out and buy liquor just for a random baking experiment.
(photo credit: cook's illustrated)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces, plus more for dusting the ramekins)
1 1/4 cups whole dates , pitted, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar(5 1/4 ounces), light or dark
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup packed brown sugar (7 ounces), light or dark
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon rum
1. For the pudding cakes: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour eight 4-ounce ramekins and line bottom of each with round of parchment paper cut to fit. Set prepared ramekins in large roasting pan lined with clean dish towel. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat.
2. Combine half of dates with water and baking soda in glass measuring cup (dates should be submerged beneath water) and soak for 5 minutes. Drain dates, reserving liquid, and transfer to medium bowl. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in another medium bowl.
3. Process remaining dates and brown sugar in food processor until just blended, about five 1-second pulses. Add reserved soaking liquid, eggs, and vanilla and process until smooth, about 5 seconds. With food processor running, pour melted butter through feed tube in steady stream. Transfer this mixture to bowl with softened dates.
4. Gently stir dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined and date pieces are evenly dispersed. Distribute batter evenly among prepared ramekins. Fill roasting pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of ramekins, making sure not to splash water into ramekins. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil, crimping edges to seal. Bake pudding cakes until puffed and small holes appear on surface, about 40 minutes. Immediately remove ramekins from water bath and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
5. For the toffee sauce: Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar until smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture looks puffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly pour in cream and rum, whisk just to combine, reduce heat, and simmer until frothy, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
6. To serve, invert each ramekin onto plate or shallow bowl, remove ramekin, and peel off parchment paper lining. Divide toffee sauce evenly among cakes and serve immediately, accompanied by crème anglaise or vanilla ice cream.