Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sticky Date Pudding

This is one of my all time favourite desserts (you'll get used to me saying that a lot around here), but really, I do love this dessert. I think some refer to it as Sticky Toffee Pudding for what reason I am not really sure, I mean it is sticky, maybe something to do with the sauce, but we have always called it Sticky Date Pudding, cause really, that is what it is. Sticky dates in a pudding. Mmmmm.

I have been craving this dessert for weeks! I got the dates weeks ago but it has really only just cooled down enough for me to make it as it really is not a dessert for 35+ degree heat. So when the temperature dropped down to the low twenties yesterday I leapt at the chance to make this. And make it I did, it was all I could do to restrain myself this morning and not have the leftovers for breakfast. It was a real struggle, and I probably would have failed had I not been going supermarket shopping. It is still teasing me though, sitting in the larder in all it's sticky wonderfulness.

The boys are also under strict instructions not to touch it. I warned them that if they did I would shave their eyebrows off and pluck all their chest hair out in their sleep. Needless to say, they have stayed away. 

The Butterscotch Sauce that goes with this is also one of my favourite. Sometimes we make it to go over Banana Bread, Brownies or Ice-Cream. The boys would drink this like water if I would let them. Sometimes I let them be gross and they pour the leftovers over sliced apple and banana for dessert. Ick.

Sticky Date Pudding

For the Pudding
200g (7oz) Dates, pitted and chopped (or 50/50 Dates and Prunes)
1 1/2 teaspoons Bi-carb (baking) soda
325ml (1 1/4 cup) Boiling water
60g (1/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
170g (3/4 Cups) Caster Sugar
2 eggs
170g (6oz, 1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour I don't buy self-raising flour, I just add baking powder. To this recipe I add around 3 teaspoons to the flour.
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For the Butterscotch Sauce
175g (3/4 cup) unsalted (sweet) butter
300g (1 1/2 cups firmly packed) brown sugar (the darker the better)
250ml (1 cup) Thickened (whipping) cream
1 to 2 Tablespoons Treacle (depending on taste, I like to add just over a tablespoon) 

Take the pips out of your dates and chop them into small squares (make sure you have 200g after you have done this. 'Cause I am lazy, I buy them already pitted.). Place them in a medium mixing bowl and cover with the bi-carb then pour over the boiling water. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180c (355F) and lightly grease an 18cm (7in) square cake tin.

Cream together the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour 2 times (three if sifting flour and baking powder together) and fold gently into the butter and egg mix. I usually divide the flour up into three so that I don't have to fold as much, as the flour is easier to combine. Pour over the date and water mixture and add the vanilla and mix together gently.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes in the middle shelf or until a skewer comes out clean (remember the dates will make the skewer sticky).

To make the sauce place all ingredients in a non-stick saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Serve warm covered in sauce. And if you're feeling naughty with cream as well.

For GF just sub the flour for your GF cake flour mix.

Serves 8. Approximately 1 hour 10 minutes prep to table (30 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking). Adapted from a recipe by Stephanie Alexander.

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