This was intended as an entry for the SHF #38 with a theme of pudding. I thought the deadline was end of the month I forgot that this is a Friday event. Duh! So I missed it again as I always do ... arrrgggghhhh!
Nevermind, I still want to include this in my list of recipes here as a reference for moi. For I have found my ultimate sticky toffee pudding - at last! I first sighted this in the Good Food magazine as far back as 2006. I have made this before but just forgot (there's that word again) to take a picture. So Christmas dinner this year provided the perfect excuse to indulge in our most favourite of all puddings.
Among the commercial varieties the only one that pass my family's finicky taste is Marks & Spencers. My husband buys only their sticky toffee pudding when he occasionally hankers for one. The rest of the store-bought ones didn't get enough points for us to buy a second time.
This type of pudding is typical of traditional British ones. Though upon research I found out that it was anything but ancient. There is controversy regarding its origins. Some say it's from a Lake District hotel some say it's from somewhere else. In any case, hats off to whoever it was for inventing a totally addictive pud.
When I was making this I realised that the most important bit is really the toffee sauce. Once you get the right balance of the ingredients for the sauce, it does not matter whether the pudding itself does or not have any dates in it. Actually I think even if you have just plain sponge as a base but have the perfect toffee sauce then it is all well and good exactly like the better store-bought ones.
The recipe is very good and easy to do. My only gripe is the black tracle in the toffee sauce causes it to turn a slight greyish tint when it cools off which can be a little off-putting for some people. So I'm recording that down as optional. I highly recommend this especially when served warm with cream or custard. Yum!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
200 g pitted and chopped dates
2/3 cup boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
175 g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
85 g butter - softened
140 g demerara sugar
2 tbsp black treacle or dark molasses
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
cream or custard to serve
175 g light muscovado sugar
50 g butter
1 cup double cream
1 Tbsp black treacle or dark molasses (optional)
- Pour the boiling water on the dates in a bowl. Let soak to soften for at least 30 minutes. Mash the dates with a fork or puree with a liquidiser. Set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/350F/gas mark 4. Butter and flour seven small pudding molds or cups (about 200 ml in size).
- Mix the flour and bicarbonate of soda well. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for several minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
- Beat in the vanilla extract, then the black treacle.
- Using a large metal spoon, fold in one-third of the flour mixture alternately with half of the milk while making sure not to overmix. Repeat until all the flour and milk are used.
- Add in the mashed dates and stir until just incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly among the seven pudding molds. Place molds on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes then loosen them by running a butter or pallet knife on its side. Turn out from the molds to cool completely.
- While the pudding is baking, make the sauce by combining the sugar, butter and half of the double cream in a saucepan.
- Bring to boil in medium heat while stirring all the time until sugar has dissolved.
- (Optional) Stir in the black treacle if using.
- Let it simmer away for about 2 minutes while stirring from time to time making sure it does not burn.
- Remove from heat then stir in the rest of the double cream.
- To serve, pour the sauce over the upturned pudding in individual plates or bowls with cream or custard.
*Note: The pudding will taste even better if it sits in the sauce for a day or two. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with some of the sauce. Sit the upturned puddings on the baking dish and pour the rest of the sauce over it. Cover with a loose tent of foil so it will not smudge the sauce.
To reheat, you can put the covered baking dish in a 180C/fan 160C/350F oven for 15 minutes. Though I prefer to microwave the individual puddings because baking tends to dry out the sauce a little making it a tad sweeter than I would like it to be.