Is this boozy sticky toffee pudding the ultimate comfort food for winter?

Is there anything more comforting on a cold, dark, rainy winter day than a sweet, treacly sticky toffee pudding? Well, perhaps there is: this boozy gin-infused version of the classic British dessert!

Don’t worry - there isn’t enough gin used in this recipe to overwhelm the usual delicious flavours of dates and syrup that we all know and love; it’s more about adding a subtle layer of warming heat and just a touch of juniper (which goes ever so well with the treacly flavours of the pud.)

We’ve used celebrity chef James Martin’s easy (and brilliant) sticky toffee pudding recipe for the cakey part of the pudding and then added the instructions for our own boozy, creamy toffee caramel sauce to pour over the top. Heavenly!

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Boozy Sticky Toffee Pudding

Adapted from James Martin’s Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe.

For the pudding:

5 tbsp demerara sugar, for coating the moulds
200g pitted dates
½ tsp vanilla extract
50g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the moulds
175g dark muscovado sugar
1½ tsp golden syrup
1½ tsp black treacle
200g self-raising flour
2 free-range eggs
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the toffee sauce:

50ml water
200g brown sugar
1 vanilla pod
100g butter
180ml heavy cream
3 tbsp gin
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Butter eight small pudding basins (dariole moulds) and sprinkle demerara sugar inside, coating evenly. Shake any excess sugar out of the moulds, and place them on a baking tray.

Place the dates with 250ml/9fl oz water into a saucepan and bring up to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir the vanilla extract into the date mixture. Blend with a stick blender until the date mixture is thick and soupy.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and muscovado sugar together until smooth. Stir in the syrup and treacle, then the flour, mixing well. Break the eggs one at a time into the bowl, stirring well after each one.

Add the bicarbonate of soda to the date mixture, then pour into the flour mixture and beat well to blend.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pudding basins, filling them two-thirds full. Put the puddings into the oven immediately, and bake for 20 minutes until well-risen and springy to the touch.

For the sauce, mix the water and sugar in a large saucepan until the mixture reaches a sandy consistency. Then melt over a medium-high heat along with the vanilla, whisking constantly so that it melts evenly. Carefully add the butter – it will foam up quite a bit here – and whisk until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. Remove the vanilla pod and then mix in the gin and salt.

To serve, turn the pudding out onto a plate, spoon the sauce over the top and around, then finish with a dollop of ice cream or a good splosh of cold pouring cream.