A while ago a friend came to lunch. As he is a vegetarian, this was a good opportunity to make a richer pudding as we had a lighter main course planned. I chose Dor’s sticky toffee pudding as I had never made it before and had recently got a recipe for it from La Difference Catering. Do go and have a look at her blog and join her facebook page – she has lots of good recipes and plenty of banter! While I made the pudding, I was merrily chatting away so made a major mistake by pouring the sauce that goes on the pudding after it is cooked into the batter before it was put in the oven! Well we ate it anyway but it wasn’t a sticky toffee pudding as you know it. With a packet of dates in the cupboard about to expire, I thought I’d have another go.
You start by making the sauce. This is a delicious combination of butter, cream, caster sugar and soft brown sugar. All you do is pop all the ingredients into a pan, heat slowly until the butter is melted, then bring to the boil and boil until the sauce has thickened the back of the spoon. This takes the full 4 minutes stated in the recipe and you really must keep stirring it the whole time otherwise it will probably burn. This is then poured into the bottom of a 24cm x 24cm dish. I don’t have one that size so I used one that measured 26cm long by 17cm wide. The dish is placed in the freezer while you prepare the dates and make the cake component.
Next you remove the stones from the dates then place them in a mixture of boiling water and bicarbonate of soda to soften. While they are soaking, you make the cake for which you use the creaming method. When you add the dry ingredients you also add in 75g walnuts. I left these out because I didn’t like them. You then take the dish out of the freezer then add the cake batter on top of the sauce that is already there. At this point the mixture was really runny which concerned me as I didn’t remember it being that liquid the first time I made this pudding. I put it in the oven and hoped for the best.
After 30 minutes the cake is supposed to be firm to the touch. Well mine wasn’t. Nor was it 10 minutes later. In fact it was a full hour before it got to that point and unfortunately by then the edges were slightly burnt despite me putting a layer of foil over the top 35 minutes into cooking to prevent this.
Once you take the cake out of the oven, you poke some holes in it using a skewer or cocktail stick then pour the remaining sauce over the top. This is placed under a medium grill for a few minutes with the instructions clearly stating you need to keep a close eye on it as it can easily burn. It seemed to be taking ages so I decided to very quickly write some notes on the process for this blog. Unfortunately this was a big mistake as the sauce split as soon as I took my eye off it! We ate it anyway. Strangely the first attempt tasted more like the sticky toffee pudding. This attempt tasted rather odd with its split sauce although the cake was lovely and moist. I appear to have met my nemesis but shall give it another go – hopefully it will be third time lucky!
And here’s the Recipe
La Difference Catering’s Recommended Sticky Toffee Pudding (from the Guardian April 2011)
175g medjool dates, stoned and roughly chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml boiling water
50g unsalted butter, softened
80g golden caster sugar
80g dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of ground cloves
For the sauce
115g unsalted butter
75g golden caster sugar
40g dark muscovado sugar
140ml double cream
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Butter a baking dish approximately 24cm x 24cm.
Make the sauce by putting all the ingredients into a pan with a pinch of salt and heating slowly until the butter has melted.
Then turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
Boil for about 4 minutes, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Pour half the sauce into the base of the dish and then put it in the freezer while you make the rest of the pudding.
Put the dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof dish and cover with the boiling water.
Leave to soften while you prepare the rest of the pudding
Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Then beat in the eggs, a little at a time.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, cloves and a pinch of salt until well combined.
Add the dates and their soaking water, and the walnuts, and mix well.
Take the dish out of the freezer and pour the batter on top of the toffee sauce.
Put into the oven for 30 minutes, until firm to the touch, and then take out of the oven.
Heat the grill to medium, and poke a few small holes evenly over the surface with a skewer or fork, and then pour over the rest of the sauce.
Put briefly under the grill, keeping an eye on it as it can easily burn. Serve with vanilla ice cream.