Friday, September 23, 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce

I've been wanting to try a sticky toffee pudding for ages - we had friends over for dinner on Thursday so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I've got a recipe for this in my Great British Baking book so I had a look, but it seemed to involved a bit of faffing around with dates, boiling water and bicarbonate of soda, so I tried James Martin's Desserts book. That also involved the use of dates and bubbling up of stuff...but did also direct the pureeing of the dates which I thought might be nicer in the sponge so went for that recipe.

The sponge went well although the boys managed to have a crying/screaming episode just at the point that I was dealing with boiling water and bicarbonate of soda! Also, I was using a 20cm tin (not 23cm) and after noting a faint smell of burning at 35 minutes cooking (!), I found that it was slightly overdone on top. Not to worry, top removed, sponge tasting good, although it did look rather suspiciously as though I hadn't quite done the final stage of mixing terribly well...

Then on to the sauce. The sauce recipe in the book sounded really easy - at this stage I should have backed away! Butter and sugar (used caster sugar) melted, cream in and brought to the boil. And it boiled and boiled but didn't caramelise! About 15 minutes later it was incredibly thick, barely browner than when it had started and still tasted of cream and sugar. I poured it into a tin and it hardened into a weird chewy yet powdery substance...

With hindsight I think my mistake was to stir the mixture while it was boiling so I'll have to experiment with this next time. Yesterday though, time was short and I had all the ingredients so I just whipped up a batch of Nigella's butterscotch sauce which worked well.

On reflection, it was tasty, but quite a bit of work making the elements separately rather than a self-saucing pudding - must find new recipe to try!

75g soft butter
175g dark brown demerera sugar
200g self-raising flour
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp black treacle
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g pitted dried dates
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

For the Toffee Sauce –
100g sugar
100g butter
200ml double cream

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/400F/gas 6. Grease a 23cm tin thoroughly with 25g of the butter, then dust the inside of the tin with flour.
2. Using a food mixer, blend the remaining butter and sugar together. Slowly add the golden syrup, black treacle, eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and continue mixing. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and then add the flour. Once all the ingredients are combined, turn off the mixer.
3. Place the dates in a saucepan with 300ml water and bring to the boil. Puree the water and date mixture and add the bicarbonate of soda. While it is still hot, quickly add this mixture to the egg mix. Once the mix is combined, pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is just firm to the touch.
4. Remove the pudding from the oven and allow to cool, then turn out of the tin and cut into squares.
5. To make the sauce, melt the butter and sugar together in a small pan, add the cream and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
6. The sponge and sauce can be made in advance and the sponge can even be frozen. Both can be plated up and reheated in the oven.

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