Why is it that you can go into the kitchen a million times, use the same recipe, and it tastes good. Then that one time you need to make it for an audience other thank Frank, and you make it the same way you always do, it flops? This is a fact of life I will never understand, but it is a fact I can depend on time and time again. (Another fact I can depend on is the fact that Frank will pass out in the lounge despite being freezing and having me shout “get your bum into bed you lazy sod” every five minutes.)
Yes, it is still cold in Sydney. And it is still the coldest winter since 1983. Despite the glacial breeze, we have been getting the most wonderful sunny days. Australia does winter in style! In celebration of this wonderful Aussie winter, I have decided to tackle sticky toffee puddings. I’ve always wanted to make them, but never got around to it. I also had no idea for 20 years that sticky toffee pudding is made with dates, and therefore is often called sticky date pudding. (Although Beets says dates are called Jerusalem toffee, which explains the name variation.)
The recipe offered the choice of making one big pudding, or 10 small ones. I went for the 10 small ones as I’m making dinner for Frank’s sister tomorrow and I wanted to drop off some puddings with it. Major mistake: I forgot/didn’t read/was too silly to grease my muffin pan! Hope as you might, the muffin pan won’t suddenly become non-stick in the oven. And the cakes are quite delicate, so even if it was I would have battled to get the little things out. The battle was definitely worth it though, the puddings tasted delicious. So much so that Frank and I ate 4 within 10 minutes before I even thought of making the butterscotch sauce, and I was trying to stop myself from going back for another 2!
Oh, I heard the couch creaking and looked back at what I thought was a sleeping Frank. He’s now lying there pretending he’s been watching the tennis is whole time!
Sticky date pudding – recipe from July edition of BBC Good Food magazine
200g pitted dates, chopped
1¼ cups water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
60g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup thickened cream
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat, stir in the soda, and stand for 5 minutes. Purée until smooth.
Cream the butter and castor sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
Fold in the flour, then the puréed dates.
Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 21 cm round pan (or six to eight individual moulds – muffin trays are ideal). Bake for 55 minutes (25 minutes for individual ones).
Prepare the sauce by placing the cream, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the pudding from the oven and stand for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a baking tray. Pour over enough of the sauce to cover the top of the pudding. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Dust the pudding with icing sugar and serve with remaining sauce, accompanied with cream or ice cream.
Note: This pudding can be kept for 1 week in the fridge. Heat single serves with sauce poured over in the microwave on High (100% power) for approximately 1 minute.