Sticky toffee pudding

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Well it may be Spring but I’m not sure the weather is quite aware of this. It was a blustery, wild day in Hampshire yesterday – it was definitely not been feeling like Spring at all. We had our friends Simon and Louisa over for dinner so I made this sticky toffee pudding for dessert. With yesterday’s weather a comforting, warm pudding was definitely needed!

This is a Jo Wheatley recipe from here ‘Passion for Baking’. I’m yet to try a Jo Wheatley recipe that’s failed and this was definitely another winner. She does have a couple of recipes on her website ‘Jo’s Blue Aga’ which you can search for. You will need a 23cm square cake tin (I used a slightly smaller one and it still worked well). You can prepare this beforehand, let it cool and then reheat it when needed by leaving it in a low oven (100C) until you want to eat it (which is what I did – it sat quite happily in the oven whilst we ate our roast dinner until it was time for dessert).

Ingredients:

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For the pudding
200g pitted dried dates or prunes
70g unsalted butter (softened)
175g soft brown sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
2 large eggs (beaten)
200g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250ml water (boiling)

For the toffee sauce
150g soft dark brown sugar
100g unsalted butter
250ml double cream

Method:
1) Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Butter and line a 23cm square baking tin with buttered baking parchment.
2) Tip the prunes or dates into a bowl and pour over the boiling water; cover (with cling film) and leave for 10 minutes to soften.

3) Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a free-standing mixer until light and fluffy (alternatively you can use an electric hand whisk).

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4) Slowly add the golden syrup and beaten eggs and mix well to combine. Sieve the flour into the bowl and mix again until smooth.

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5) Add the bicarbonate of soda to the dried fruit and water mixture. Using a hand-held blender or food processor and whizz to a puree. Fold into the batter and spoon into the prepared tin.

6) Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 40 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the pudding comes out clean.
7) Meanwhile, prepare the toffee sauce. Put all of the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until everything is melted and well combined. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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8) Enjoy with cream or ice cream (or both if you’re Mr Birdie!)

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