Posted in Dinner Party

Sticky Toffee Pudding.

What can I say? Sweet, divine and utterly satisfying.  I experimented with this Sticky Toffee Pudding last week and as the best light of the day for photographing is around lunchtime there was no possibility of me turning my back on this to whip up a sandwich when I could indulge in forkful after forkful of heaven.  What a lunch and ooooooooohh the sauce.  That sauce langoured in the fridge for almost a week and I felt very Nigella-ish every time I turned my back on the world to dip in for a sneaky spoonful.
Sticky Toffee Pudding No Sauce
Sticky Toffee Pudding
This was one of those dishes that I had avoided making, having had the suspicion that a lot of effort was required but truthfully it is simple.  My eldest forced my hand when he shoved one of my foodie magazines under my nose and said ‘make that Mom.’  I must admit that the request/demand was made in June and even though I went out and bought the dates back then, it’s taken me until September to get around to making Sticky Toffee Pudding.  The magazine had long since been mislaid so I went on-line to get the gist of the recipe and with a bit of nipping and tucking came up with this version.  I decided to cook the puddings in a sort of bain-marie, where they baked in the oven standing in some water which I anticipated would give a steaming effect and hopefully render them moister.  The dates I bought were vacuum packed and had a shelf-life of at least a year.  Being in a pack size of 250g I adjusted my quantities upwards as I didn’t want a couple of unused dates looking at me until they eventually passed their best.
Sticky Toffee Pudding eaten
Sticky Toffee Pudding Moist Mouthful
This quantity will make 8 medium-sized puddings in individual ramekin dishes.  I found that those that weren’t devoured immediately heated up perfectly well in the microwave with a dollop of the sauce on top.
Makes 8.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
You will need (for pudding):
250g stoneless dates
some boiling water (for soaking)
100g unsalted butter
225g dark muscovado sugar
200g self-raising flour
3 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
You will need (for sauce):
100g unsalted butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
229ml double cream (strange quantity, but that’s how it’s sold)
Method (for puddings):
Pre-heat the fan oven to 160C  / Gas Mark 4 (cooked at this temp for first 25 mins, temperature is raised for last 10 mins).
Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to stand and plump up for 5 minutes.
Use a little butter to grease the inside of the ramekin dishes and place in a roasting tray filled with cold water to come half-way up the side of the ramekin. (You may need to use two trays.)
Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and then the sugar together.
Drain the water from the dates and roughly chop them, then use a mini-chopper or food processor to chop them finely, they will be sticky but you don’t want to bite into a big lump of date.
Continuing to use the electric mixer, add the chopped dates to the butter and sugar and mix well.
Add in an egg followed by a couple of spoonfuls of the flour and the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Continue to mix adding an egg at a time followed by the flour until all is added and well mixed.
Sprinkle a little crumbling of dark muscovado sugar in the base of each of the buttered ramekins before filling them with the pudding mixture.
Bake the puddings in the bain-marie in the fan oven at 160 (Gas Mark 4) for 25 minutes, then increase the heat to 180 (Gas Mark 6) for a further 10 minutes.
Use the end of a spoon to prise around the edge of each pudding and then turn them over onto a plate and serve with warm sauce on top.  Best served heated.
Method (for sauce):
Put the butter, muscovado sugar and double cream into a saucepan over a medium heat and mix well as the butter melts, raise the heat, bring just to the boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer for a few minutes.
Til next time, Sheila.