It seems that my posts at the moment are all about birthdays! My brother's birthday was in May, and I made him Sticky Date Pudding. It's the perfect weather for it right now: cold.
The Sticky Date Pudding I make is dense, filling, and warming. Sometimes I add good quality chocolate to the pudding, which adds another layer of goodness to the dish. Of course, a sticky date pudding is not ever complete without a generous covering of the stuff that makes it sticky - butterscotch sauce. I am always super offended if a restaurant serves their sticky date pudding without enough sauce. This recipe makes more than enough delicious, rich, utterly unhealthy sauce; enough to drown each piece of pudding in. Perfect.
Recipe adapted from: The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander
Ingredients - Pudding (18cm square cake or equivalent)
170g dates (without stones)
1 tsp bicarb soda
300mL boiling water
60g unsalted butter
180g caster or brown sugar
170g self raising flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
Ingredients - Butterscotch sauce
400g brown sugar
250mL thickened cream
2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
Method - Pudding
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line an 18cm square tin with baking paper. You can also use a circular tin of equivalent size, or use a cupcake pan for sweet little desserts you don't have to cut up.
2. De-stone your dates if they aren't already, then chop them up. Don't cut them too thin, each date should go into 3 - 4 bits.
3. Put the dates in a bowl and mix with bicarb, then pour the boiling water in and let stand.
4. Meanwhile: cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
5. Fold flour in gently.
6. Add vanilla, and the date mixture (water and everything!) then stir until combined. The batter will be quite liquid.
7. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Method - Butterscotch sauce
I usually make the butterscotch sauce just before the pudding is served - this way the sauce is nice and hot. It doesn't take long to make so it can easily be done while the main course is being cleared from the table!
1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Make sure you use a big enough saucepan, as the sauce will boil quite vigorously!
4. Pour the hot sauce over and leave to soak for a few minutes. I keep some sauce aside to tip into a jug and pour over each individual piece of pudding.
6. Even if it's not anyone's birthday, cut up the pudding into smallish pieces, pour some more sauce on and devour.
Happy birthday, brother of mine. I love you.