"So exactly what is a pudding? The word, a British gastronome wrote a hundred years ago, has been extended ''so widely by the fancies and tastes of cooks that it is difficult to assign any limitation to its application.'' (Suffice it to say that even if he cannot define a pudding, an Englishman knows when he is eating one.)
The revival in traditional sweet puddings began in the Lake District. A young cook named Francis Coulson arrived there in 1949... With his partner, Brian Sack, he slowly built a national reputation for unpretentious hospitality and sound English food, not least an irresistible dish he called "sticky toffee pudding."
Spongelike, with fragments of crust here and there, the pudding is bathed in a viscous butterscotch** sauce, with ice-cold cream poured over the whole shooting match at the last minute.
The texture and the dishearteningly delicious taste owe a lot to the pitted dates in the batter. Other versions, good and less-good, are featured on menus across the land."
**Note: Most people do not refer to the topping as "butterscotch," unless they think butterscotch and toffee are the same thing, which they are not. It is USUALLY referred to as a warm "toffee" topping, and that is what I call it.
What is a Pudding? NY Times Article (Excerpt taken from The New York Times article entitled "The Worldly Pleasures of Nursery Puddings; In England, there will always be whim wham and apple dappy.")