Sticky toffee pudding is my all time favourite desert. If I ever see it on a pub menu, I just have to get it no matter how stuffed I am. As puddings go, this is not one for the faint hearted but I've played with this recipe over the years and find that the gooey pudding texture goes so well with the crunchy addition of walnuts or pecans and I often include chopped apples to combat the sweetness of the juicy date so you can keep everyone happy. (If you fancy this, peel, chop and core 2 apples and reduce the dates to 175g with 110ml boiling water.)
This is perfect to follow a Sunday roast dinner when you want to snuggle by the fire and can even be jazzed up with a naughty dash of spiced rum for a Christmas desert. Just a warning, I've often found myself making double the toffee sauce as it somehow seems to disappear while cooking!
Prep 15 minutes | Cook 40 minutes | Serves 12
220g dates, pitted and chopped
175ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g light brown sugar
75g butter softened
175g self-raising flour
50g walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2tbsp stem ginger (optional)
200g light brown muscovado sugar
150ml double cream
1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan and grease a 23cm square baking dish.
2. Put the dates in a bowl, add the vanilla extract, bicarb and pour over the boiling water. Give it a stir, then leave to stand and cool while the dates soften and you can break them up with a fork.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat till well incorporated. Sift in the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and slowly fold through. Finally fold in the cooled date mixture, stem ginger, nuts and apples if using.
5. Pour into the baking dish to bake for around 45 minutes or until a skewer test comes out clean. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover with a sheet of foil.
6. Make the sauce by melting the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat. Slowly add the cream, stirring through so you have a golden runny sauce. Turn up the heat until hot and bubbling, then take off the heat. Gently reheat to serve with a dollop of ice cream.