Sunday 30 January 2011

Sticky toffee pudding

One of mankind’s greatest gifts is sticky toffee pudding. For the uninitiated, this is a light yet sticky cake made with soft dates, covered on a toffee sauce. It’s pure comfort food, perfect for those days when the world is getting too much for you and when you need a little tenderness. It’s like being hugged from the inside. It’s a great show-stopping dessert for when your friends are over. There is just this moment of silence as the first bite goes down, and your friends will leave your place with a glow of happiness and contentment and with wonderful thoughts of what a nice person you are, and what a wonderful cook you are.

Sticky toffee pudding, made in a cake tin

I’ve tried many recipes for this pudding, all in the name of research, and the best I found is this.

150g pitted dates
250ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g salted butter
125g light muscovado or cassonade sugar
2 eggs
2 tblsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

125g dark mucovado sugar
100g unsalted butter
200ml double cream

Steps to heaven
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease your baking tin well. I usually make this in a pyrex dish, about 20cm long by 7cm high.

Remove all the stones from the dates. This is the most fiddly part of the recipe. Chop them into small pieces, pop them in a bowl and add the bicarbonate of soda and pour over the boiling water. It will foam a bit. This is fine. Leave it to the side for the moment.
Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then add the light muscovado sugar and cream together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well to combine, then stir in the vanilla and the golden syrup.
Lightly stir in the flour baking powder.
Tip the date mixture in and fold this through the flour mixture until it is well combined.
Pour this into your prepared tin and pop into the oven for about 25-30 minutes.

To make the sauce, place the butter, dark muscovado sugar and cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring often as the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Heat, but do not boil (boiling will result in a skin on top; not the end of the world if it happens).
Serve warm slices of the pudding, spooned over with the warm toffee sauce and a few scoops of vanilla icecream.

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