Sticky Figgy Pudding And Walnut Toffee Sauce Recipe

Fig pudding, like other British holiday puddings, has been enjoyed in England for centuries, and has become a beloved part of the country's traditional culinary heritage. While it may not be as popular in other parts of the world, those who have tried it often appreciate its rich and comforting flavor, especially during the colder months of the year. In America, we think of pudding as the gelatin or cornstarch-fortified goo you eat with a spoon, but in England, pudding simply refers to dessert, and Americans would probably describe this dish as cake-like.

This fig pudding is ultra-moist from an infusion of date and dried fig puree that's spiked with espresso and vanilla bean paste, and is served with a walnut toffee sauce. "I've been making this dessert for a long time, and it's one of my favorites," says recipe developer Taylor Murray. "I like to serve little squares of it after dinner with coffee, and some hand-whipped cream."

Gather the sticky toffee pudding ingredients

The first step is to grab all the ingredients. You'll need some dried figs and dates, most crucially. These can be found at most health food stores. The date and fig puree has water and vanilla bean paste, which can be swapped out for vanilla extract, as well as some freshly-brewed espresso. For the cake, unsalted butter and white, granulated sugar form the base, to which you add large eggs and a mixture of all-purpose white flour, baking powder, and salt.

The toffee sauce calls for dark brown sugar, plus 2 sticks of butter, some heavy cream, and a squeeze of lemon to prevent crystallization. The final component is some toasted, chopped walnuts. "Really, any kind of nut can work here, but walnuts provide a nice, slightly-bitter flavor that offsets the sweetness of the rest of the dessert," says Murray.

Make the date and fig purée

In a medium saucepan, bring the dates, figs, espresso, vanilla, and 1 cup of water to a boil for a few minutes, until the dried fruit has softened. "I used vanilla bean paste because I like it," says Murray. "You could swap this out for vanilla extract in an even amount." If you don't have a way to make espresso at home, use 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder, and continue with the recipe as written. Blend the contents until completely smooth, then set aside for later.

Mix the cake batter

Heat the oven to 325 F, and line a 9-x 13-inch pan with parchment paper and cooking spray. In the bowl of your mixer, beat 1 ½ cups of softened butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low, and add the eggs in one at a time, scraping between additions. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then add it into the batter in alternate additions along with the fig-date purée. When the batter is almost combined, remove from the mixer and finish mixing by hand.

Bake the cake

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Alternatively, you could bake this cake in 8 ounce ramekins, if desired, and simply reduce the bake time to about 20 minutes.

Make the sauce

Meanwhile, start the toffee sauce by melting the brown sugar and 2 sticks of butter over medium heat. Stir in the lemon juice and cream, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Let cool, then fold in the toasted walnuts.

"This sauce has a tendency to want to crystallize," says Murray. The lemon juice helps prevent crystallization, but the best way to prevent this chemical phenomenon is to stir the sauce as little as possible. If it does crystallize as it cools, warm it back up gently and stir in cold cream. The cream will help dissolve the crystals, and rebind the sugar with the butter.

Serve and enjoy

Pour the warm toffee sauce over the cake, and let it cool slightly before cutting the pudding into 12 portions. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. "I like to have this with vanilla ice cream," Murray explains.

Sticky Figgy Pudding And Walnut Toffee Sauce Recipe
4.9 from 17 ratings
Enjoy the taste of traditional British cuisine with this sticky fig pudding recipe with a walnut toffee sauce.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cake on plate with cream
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 15 pitted Medjool dates, about 2 cups
  • 8 dried figs, about 1 ½ cups
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons espresso
  • 3 ½ sticks unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
Optional Ingredients
  • Whipped cream, for serving
  1. In a medium pot, bring the dates, figs, water, vanilla, and espresso to a boil. Remove from heat, transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth. Let cool, and set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 325 F, and line a 9-x 13-inch pan with parchment paper and cooking spray. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 ½ sticks of butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture and fig date purée into the bowl in alternate additions.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 sticks butter and the brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Add lemon juice and cream, and mix slowly until fully incorporated, being careful to mix as little as possible. Cook on low until bubbles have slowed and the sauce is thick, about 20 minutes. Let cool, then fold in walnuts.
  6. Pour the sauce over the warm cake, and top with whipped cream, if desired.
Calories per Serving 846
Total Fat 47.7 g
Saturated Fat 24.1 g
Trans Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 166.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 102.8 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Total Sugars 76.2 g
Sodium 324.9 mg
Protein 8.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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