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Sticky. Toffee. Pudding. When I say these words aloud I see my listeners' pupils dilate, their fingers twitch, their teeth bite vampire-like into their bottom lips. I see I have an audience in my thrall and decide to tease and torture, describing how a warm bath of brown sugar, butter, molasses, and port sauce cascades onto a bed of dark cake that imbibes the glossy liquid. When prodded or scooped, the cake bleeds out helplessly and deliciously.
Traditionally, sticky toffee pudding is made with dates, but I have a soft spot for prunes, despite their For Geriatrics Only reputation. They're velvety and rich, the flesh full and supple. Poached in sweet, tawny port, they plump and become even more luscious.
The drunken prunes are pureed and combined with brown sugar, flour, and melted butter, then baked in a water bath to ensure maximum moisture. Ultimately, this gooey cake seems to make tastebuds get all hot and bothered.
This dessert may be served on its own, but since we're already knee-deep in toffee sauce, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a pillow of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of toasted pistachios and Maldon salt.