"seconds, please" gluten-free sticky toffee pudding!

this week's experiment in gluten-free baking for the holidays involved a different tactic. instead of using the awesome jeanne's gluten free flour, i wanted to try using chestnut flour. after looking at a bunch of recipes which were all variations on the traditional castagniaccio - which seemed flatter and firmer than what i was looking for - i hit upon the idea of sticky toffee pudding! a recipe i had long wanted to try, but never got around too. the sweet nuttiness of the chestnut flour seemed like it would be a perfect match for sticky toffee.

i did a lot of reading and researching, looking at various recipes which all had the same basic ingredients (eggs, flour, butter, sugar) with slight variations on the theme. i found one that was made in a bundt pan which i liked the idea of (pretty! festive!) but the recipe seemed to be written down wrong and missing key ingredients. i found a couple that mentioned soaking the dates in tea, which i thought sounded lovely. and i found this article from the guardian which suggested there was no need to fuss with the mixing of the ingredients, which sounded good as well. also, their suggestion of using a food processor to blend in the dates sounded very orthodontia-friendly, although i only have a mini-chop so i used a stick blender.

for the flour, which measured 1 1/2 cups, i decided to use a mix of chestnut and a version of jeanne's, but to keep it simple i just used one rice flour (the "fancy" one) and arrowroot instead of tapioca solely because i had it on hand and wanted to try it. and xanthan gum, which seems to be key. i also dropped the amount of butter in the recipe by 2 tablespoons, to accommodate the added richness of the flour.

the various toffee sauce recipes were all over the map, with measurements of cream ranging between 2 tablespoons (not enough!) and 2 cups (seems excessive, and more than i had on hand), and some having no butter at all (which seems just wrong). also, there was the whole weighing things out by the gram issue (i weighed the brown sugar, then packed it into measuring cups so i won't have to weigh in the future). next time i'll use a slightly bigger pot, as the sauce looked perilously close to boiling over, and i had one small spill.

the results are excellent! my test subjects both had seconds, as did i.

chestnut sticky toffee pudding (gluten free)

1 cup chopped dates
1 1/4 cups hot tea
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
5/8 cup soft butter (1/2 cup + 2 tbs)
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup chestnut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup fancy rice flour (so it is called at the health food shop where i got it, it may or may not be the same as "sweet rice flour" aka mochiko)
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tbs gluten-free baking powder (n.b. the one i use specifies that if the recipe calls for 1 tbs, you should use 1 1/2. so if you have one that can be substituted one-for-one, just use 1 tbs of baking powder)

3/4 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

combine dates and tea and let sit for at least 10 minutes, then stir in the vanilla, baking soda, and salt.

combine butter and sugar. add the still-warm date mixture. mix with a stick blender till combined. beat in eggs the same way.

combine all the remaining dry ingredients. stir into the wet ingredients until just combined.

butter a bundt pan and dust with arrowroot flour. pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 or 40 minutes at 350f. let rest in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a platter.

meanwhile, make the sauce: combine all ingredients in a pan (being aware that it will grow while cooking!) bring to a boil, and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring and making sure it doesn't boil over. let cool a bit before pouring over top of the pudding.

serve with more sauce and cream!

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