ENGLISH TOFFEE PUDDING
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 cup finely chopped dried pitted dates 7 tablespoons butter, softened 3/4 cup sugar 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 11/4 cups boiling water 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar 2 tablespoons heavy cream Whipped cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the centre. Butter a 9-to-10-inch pie pan or oval gratin dish; set aside.
Sift the 1 cup flour and the baking powder onto a sheet of wax paper or into a bowl; set aside.
In a small heatproof bowl, toss the dates with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat together 4 tablespoons of the butter and the white sugar until light and fluffy. Lower the speed to medium-low; beat in the egg and about 1/4 of the flour mixture; mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
Sprinkle the baking soda and vanilla over the dates; add the boiling water and stir to combine. Add the date mixture to the batter, beating until well blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Bake until set and well browned on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pudding from the oven; preheat the broiler, with a rack about 4 inches from the heat source.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, the brown sugar and the cream to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour the topping over the hot pudding.
Broil the pudding until the topping bubbles, watching carefully to prevent burning, about 1 minute. Cool the pudding briefly on a wire rack. Serve warm, with whipped cream. SERVES 6 to 8.