Sticky Date Pudding is one of my mum’s best desserts. She has turned it into an art form that few restaurants can come close to matching in my book. The texture of the pudding and the richness of the caramel butterscotch sauce is a combination of rare and special beauty that can be the perfect ending to a great meal.
So doing my usual trick of butchering good food with my own shoddy attempts at making them, I went off and tried to make it myself. I didn’t have time to get the recipe off mum, seeing as it was already about 9:30pm when I decided I was going to cook it, and so I went off to the net to find a recipe. I did my usual trick of combining the essence of about 15 different recipes into my own unified Jeet Kune Do (“I have developed a form of fighting with NO fixed positions!”) style sticky date pudding recipe.
As an interesting addition, I thought i’d make the sauce with honey, and funnily enough, after reading JenJen’s list of 5 things to eat before you die, I happened to come across a small tin of Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey in Fresh Provisions Mt Lawley (who incidentally also have Black Summer Truffles !), and I thought i’d give it a try.
- 1 cup dates (or figs even) (stones removed unless you like a bit of bite)
- 1/2 chocolate bits
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cups plain flour
- 50g butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
Ingredients For sauce
- 50g butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup tasmanian leatherwood honey
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
How I made mine
Rummage through your cupboards until you find the one baking dish you bought a few years ago with all good intentions of using to make cakes and the like. Rinse out the dust it’s been collecting and then smear the insides with butter. Sprinkle flour inside and chill in the fridge. Or alternatively, get new age fancy style silicone containers and not bother at all. Preheat your oven to 180C.
Chop up the dates and simmer in a pan with the water and orange juice for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat, stir in the baking soda, and watch a glorious volcanic eruption of foamy goodness. Sit that aside for 20 minutes or so while you prepare the rest. Resist the temptation to taste it, because this mixture is kinda nasty at this point.
While that mixture is standing, into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt (i may have even added a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon here, just because it felt right).
Meanwhile back at the ranch, in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs in one at a time. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating after each addition until just combined. Add date mixture and with a wooden spoon stir batter until just combined well.
Pour batter into your pan and put it into a bane marie (larger pan/tray filled with water) with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of smaller pan. Slide it carefully into the oven and bake until a metal probe comes out clean, which I found was roughly 45 minutes.
Now for the sauce…
In a heavy saucepan melt butter over low heat and add brown sugar, then carefully pour the honey in. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a bubble, stirring occasionally, then stir in cream and vanilla. Stir it around for a few minutes until its thick and smooth.
Serve straight away by cutting a sizeable chunk of pudding and smothering it in the sauce, with a good helping of cream or ice cream on top to help assuage your stomach from the heavy onslaught of the determined forces of pudding and sauce.