Saturday, 9 February 2013

Reasons to be glad it's still winter

Snow and ice are returning this weekend, so the forecasters say.

Well, never mind!  Here's just the thing to make you pleased with this turn of events - a recipe for 

The Ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding,

the perfect winter warmer

(also ideal in spring, autumn, and -  why the heck not? - summer?)

I'm always suspicious of recipes that claim to be 'ultimate' but this one did not disappoint.  I had never actually eaten a sticky toffee pudding before making this for the first time a few weeks back, thinking that I would find them too sweet and heavy, but Mr U-t-B has had them before, and Miss U-t-B is almost a professional taster-of-sticky-toffee-puddings, so she really knows what they're about!  

They both professed these to be the best pudding I've ever made, topping even Dum's Pudding which Mr U-t-B says is the reason he married me!  And what's more I found them neither too sweet nor remotely heavy - in fact, as I spooned it slowly into my mouth, I thought I had died and gone to heaven...

The Ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding

Makes 7 little puddings (I made 9)
Prep about an hour
Cook 20-25 mins (can be made 1-2 days ahead and left to soak up the sauce - see recipe)
EASY and freezable (if you don't want to eat the puddings all at once (???!) freeze a few in an ovenproof dish with some of the sauce.  Thaw for a few hours and reheat as in step 5)

1.  Stone and chop 225g of whole (preferably Medjool) dates quite small.  

( I actually used the same amount of ready stoned ones.)  Put them in a bowl then pour over 175ml of boiling water. 

Leave to soak for 30 minutes until cool and well-soaked, then mash a bit with a fork.  Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract.  

Butter and flour 7 (metal) mini-pudding tins (each about 200ml) and sit them on a baking tray.  

Heat oven to 180 degrees/160 Fan oven/Gas 4.

2.  Towards the end of the date soaking time, make the pudding mixture.  Beat together 85g butter and 140g of demerara sugar in a large bowl for a few minutes until slightly creamy. 

(It will still be grainy because of the sugar).  Sift together 175g self-raising flour and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, placing it in a bowl for later. 

Beat two eggs and add to the mixture a bit at a time, beating well between additions.

Next beat in 2 tbsp of black treacle...

Then, using a large metal spoon gently, fold in one-third of the flour, then 50ml of milk.  Don't overbeat!  

Follow with another third of flour, and another 50ml of milk, then the final third of flour.  Stir in the soaked dates.  

The mix may look a little curdled at this point and will be a soft, thick batter.  

Spoon it evenly between the tins (I actually used 9 tins as we have that number for lunch tomorrow, and they came out the perfect size) and bake for 20-25 mins until risen and firm to the touch.

3.  Meanwhile, put 175g light muscovado sugar, 50g butter and 115ml double cream into a saucepan.  

Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time to ensure the sugar dissolves properly.  Stir in 1 tbsp black treacle, then turn up the heat slightly and let the mixture bubble away for 2-3 mins until it is a rich toffee colour, stirring occasionally to ensure it does not catch. 

Take the pan off the heat and stir in a further 110ml of double cream.

4. Remove the puddings from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before loosening with a small palette knife.  Turn the puddings out, coat with sauce and serve OR, to make them even stickier, pour half the sauce into an ovenproof dish, turn the puddings into the sauce the pour the rest of the sauce over.  

Squeeeeze in!

Cover with a loose tent of foil and leave - no need to chill.

5. When ready to serve, heat oven to 180 degrees/160 Fan oven/Gas 4.  Warm the puddings through, still covered in the foil, for 15-20 mins or until the sauce is bubbling.  Serve on their own or with cream or custard.

Served with cream - might as well be killed for a sheep as a lamb, eh?

Recipe from Good Food magazine, developed by Angela Nilsen


  1. woo- I've gone to heaven just reading the recipe and my mouth's watering into my porridge!
    it probably wasn't oversweet cos you didn't use Medjool dates which are SOOOOOOOO sugary.
    Definitely a recipe to try, thankyou xx

    1. Good point about the dates - I would definitely think NOT Medjool in case it made it too sweet. And the Whitworth's ones are probably cheaper too!

  2. Well now I'm thinking where can I go and get those ingredients at 10 o' clock at night - it looks so yummy! Will have to make do with a crumpet and some home made jam for now x

  3. yummy yummy. I used to buy the little microwave pots of steamed stick toffee puddings for the kids. They loved them. Yours look divine !

  4. Oh ... my teeth are aching just reading this yummy recipe.