Warm Sticky Figgy Puddings with Caramel Sauce
Warm Sticky Figgy Puddings are the perfect holiday dessert! Popularized by the song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” figgy puddings are small cakes served warm with a homemade caramel sauce on top. They are the ultimate holiday dessert!
Several years ago, my sister, her husband, Bob, and I started talking about how fun it would be to have a Dickens Dinner around Christmas time. At first, we joked about having a goose and eating only by candlelight, but soon we decided that our Dickens-inspired dinner would include only elements from the classic “A Christmas Carol”.
As it turns out, goose is quite expensive, so we went with a turkey. My brother-in-law made wassail, and I made a New England Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing. One thing we knew from the start, the English holiday dessert figgy pudding was a must! While I don’t know how traditional this figgy pudding version is, it had great reviews on Food Network (and was featured on Ultimate Recipe Showdown), so I went with it.
I have to say, these Warm Sticky Figgy Puddings were one of the best desserts we’ve ever had! We all agreed that it was a hit and must return to our annual Dickens Dinner. We served ours with vanilla ice cream. The combination of the warm cake and caramel sauce with the cold ice cream made this dessert even better.
These “puddings” are actually small cakes. This is a very rich dessert, and I only make it once a year, but it is SO worth it. The caramel sauce is an absolute must, and really, so is the ice cream. This is possibly my favorite dessert of all time!
Ina Garten had a chef friend on her show once who showed her how to make Date Toffee Pudding – the recipe I use is different because it has figs and also flecks of chocolate – to use Ina’s own words against her, “how bad can that be?”
Make Ahead Holiday Dessert
When I take these to the annual Dickens Dinner at my sister’s house, I make the cake batter at home and divide it into the ramekins. I cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate them. Then, I make the caramel sauce and transfer it to a lidded mason jar and refrigerate it until ready to use.
At my sister’s house, after we finish dinner, I bake the cakes. While they bake, I heat up the caramel sauce. After the cakes have cooled for 10 minutes, I unmold them on each plate and use a paring knife to cut a small X on the top of each cake. Then I pour the sauce over the top of each cake, let it soak in, and add more. Lastly I scoop the vanilla ice cream on top, then top with extra caramel sauce.
Gluten Free Figgy Puddings
Use a measure for measure gluten free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour, in place of all purpose flour. The results are nearly identical!
Looking for More Holiday Worthy Desserts?
Check out these ultimate indulgence desserts that are the perfect end to any special meal:
Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Buche de Noel
Bailey’s Irish Cream Mini Cheesecakes
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake Bundt Cake
Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Cake
For the Pudding/Cake:
- 3/4 cup dried pitted dates (chopped)
- 1/4 cup dried figs (chopped)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar (see note)
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup self-rising flour (see note)
- 1 1/4 ounces dark chocolate (grated or chopped bittersweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli)
- Butter for the ramekins
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 7 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
- pinch kosher salt or flaky sea salt (optional)
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped heavy cream (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare the Puddings:
- Add the dates, dried figs, and water to medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the baking soda. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add to a blender to puree.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and beat well. Fold in the flour, the pureed date mixture, and the chocolate.
- Divide the batter equally among 4 buttered ramekins. At this point, you may bake immediately, or cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to several hours if you prefer to serve them warm after a meal (see notes below).
- Bake the cakes for 20 – 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Prepare the Caramel Sauce:
- To prepare the sauce, stir the sugar and cream in a medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to a boil, then reduce and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add the butter and stir until incorporated.
- Add salt if desired.
- If using immediately, keep sauce warm. You may refrigerate the sauce and reheat later when serving the dessert.
Assemble the Dessert:
- Remove the ramekins from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve in the ramekin or unmold each cake onto a serving plate. With a paring knife, cut a cross in the center of each cake. Pour the warm sauce over the pudding and allow it to soak in slightly, then top with more sauce as desired.
- Serve warm topped with ice cream or whipped cream.