Richard has a sweet and sticky treat for those cold November nights
Richard Hughes has a proper winter dessert for you
We are into the month of hearty stews, slow cooked hot pots, game braises, steaming pies and puddings. November is not a popular month, often dark and dreary, yet in terms of food, it’s one of my favourites.
Much as I love summer fruits and ice cream sundaes, you can’t beat a proper pudding for dessert, with pints of custard, cream or, as in this case, a deliciously dark toffee sauce. You can call this month’s recipe a cake or a pudding; it won’t make a jot of difference to how good it tastes. It’s an ideal treat for Halloween and Guy Fawkes.
As a child November seemed to be one of the most exciting months of the year. November 5 rivalling Christmas Day in the anticipation stakes for this Fen boy. Our whole village would congregate on our neighbour’s allotment.
We would have made house-to-house collections, acquiring rubbish to burn and add to the ever-growing bonfire. Households would contribute sausage rolls, vats of hot soup and too-hot-to-handle jacket potatoes to the evening’s feast. The smell of fireworks and the smoke of the often out-of-control fire would linger for many evenings after. Wandering the village in the dark only added to the sense of occasion.
My love of fireworks and the rituals associated with them endure to this day, my enthusiasm is only surpassed by my wife’s, who would happily be out every night in November, staring into the sky. She claims, much like how you can judge a person by how they treat their waiter, you can tell a person’s character if they brand a firework display as ‘a waste of money’! This is an ideal recipe for dark winter nights, with the sticky dates, juicy apples and soft brown sugar, and decadent rich, sweet sauce. This cake will keep for days. In fact it gets better with time to mature. I’m betting it won’t last for many hours once out of the oven!