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Banana and Walnut Sticky Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

Scott Phillips

Servings: 8

For the final course of his holiday menu, chef Luke Thomas pairs two of his favorite things, bananas and sticky pudding, which is not a pudding in the American sense of the word, but a rich, moist cake. While the cake is wonderful, it’s the dark, salty caramel sauce that makes the dessert so outstanding. And you won’t believe how easy the foolproof sauce is to make.


For the pudding

  • Cooking spray
  • 5 oz. dates, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. demerara sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 very ripe banana, chopped into small pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 3 oz. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

For the caramel sauce

  • 3-1/2 oz. (7 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1-3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. flaky sea salt or kosher salt

For the whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 860
      Fat Calories (kcal): 480
      Fat (g): 54
      Saturated Fat (g): 30
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13
      Cholesterol (mg): 160
      Sodium (mg): 780
      Carbohydrates (g): 93
      Fiber (g): 3
      Sugar (g): 76
      Protein (g): 7


Make the pudding

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 325°F. Lightly spray eight 4-oz. ramekins with cooking spray. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
  • In a medium bowl, pour 1/3 cup boiling water over the dates. Add the baking soda, stir, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool completely. Transfer to a blender or a food processor and process to a coarse paste.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and continue to beat until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a large silicone spatula, fold in the flour, milk, and baking powder until smooth. Fold in the banana, walnuts, and dates.
  • Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins. Transfer to a deep roasting pan, and pour enough hot water into the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until firm but still a little springy and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water and set aside until cool to the touch. Gently run a knife around the edge of each ramekin and invert to unmold.

Make the caramel sauce

  • Put the butter, sugar, cream, and salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until glossy and thick, 6 to 8 minutes. (The caramel can be made a few hours ahead and kept at room temperature; it can also be refrigerated for up to 1 week and gently reheated before serving.)

Make the whipped cream and serve

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl using a hand mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla, raise the speed to medium high, and continue to whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Increase the speed to high until the cream forms stiff peaks and is very thick, about 30 seconds more.
  • Reheat the caramel sauce over low heat. Put each pudding on a small plate. Top with plenty of caramel sauce, a dollop of whipped cream, and an extra drizzle of sauce, if you like.


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