Sticky tof­fee pud­ding

The ethos of Flour and Stone is “baked for love, life and hap­pi­ness” and this recipe cer­tainly brings joy in spades. Made from such hum­ble pantry sta­ples, the sticky tof­fee pud­ding is a tri­umph for the home baker.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Exclusive Extract -

SERVES 8 DATE MIX­TURE

250g fresh dates, pit­ted 250ml wa­ter 1 tea­spoon bi­car­bon­ate of soda 1 tea­spoon in­stant es­presso gran­ules

PUD­DING MIX­TURE

150g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened 250g dark brown sugar 3 eggs

180g self-rais­ing flour, sifted

CARAMEL SAUCE

250g caster sugar 100ml wa­ter 250ml pure cream

1 DATE MIX­TURE Place the dates and wa­ter into a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then re­duce the heat and sim­mer for 5 min­utes or un­til the dates are soft. Re­move the pan from the heat and add the bi­car­bon­ate of soda, stir­ring it through well with a wooden spoon to com­bine. The mix­ture will be­come molten for a moment but don’t worry – just keep stir­ring un­til the erup­tion sub­sides, then stir through the es­presso gran­ules un­til dis­solved. Pour the date mix­ture into a flat bak­ing tray and set aside to cool com­pletely.

2 PUD­DING MIX­TURE Pre­heat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced) and but­ter and sugar the in­side of a 25cm round pud­ding bowl or bak­ing dish. Us­ing an elec­tric mixer fit­ted with the pad­dle at­tach­ment, cream the but­ter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 min­utes or un­til pale and fluffy (or use a bowl and a wooden spoon if the but­ter is very soft). Give the eggs a light beat with a fork, then grad­u­ally add them to the fluffy but­ter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spat­ula ev­ery now and then if you feel the egg is not in­cor­po­rat­ing with the but­ter. Turn the ma­chine off and re­move the bowl (if us­ing an elec­tric mixer). Fold through the cooled date mix­ture one-third at a time, al­ter­nat­ing with the flour un­til ev­ery­thing is well com­bined. Spoon the mix­ture into the pre­pared bowl or dish and bake for 40-45 min­utes while you make the caramel sauce.

3 CARAMEL SAUCE Com­bine the sugar and wa­ter in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat un­til the sugar has dis­solved. Stop stir­ring when it starts to boil and brush down the in­side of the pan with a wet pas­try brush to dis­solve any crys­tals that have formed on the sur­face of the caramel. In­crease the heat to high and cook the caramel un­til it be­comes a dark caramel colour. Be brave! A dark caramel is go­ing to taste bet­ter than a pale sweet one. Re­move the pan from the heat and add the cream with­out stir­ring. The caramel may splut­ter a lit­tle so stand back un­til it fin­ishes its tantrum, then re­turn it to low heat and stir with a spat­ula un­til the caramel is glossy, en­sur­ing that all the sticky bits on the base of the pan have been in­cor­po­rated. Re­move the pan from the heat.

4 To test the pud­ding for readi­ness just insert a skewer into the cen­tre. Or­di­nar­ily you would want to see the skewer come out clean, but in this in­stance I be­lieve it is bet­ter for the cen­tre to still be ever-so-slightly sticky as it will cook a bit more after it comes out of the oven. Re­move the pud­ding from the oven and, with oven mitts or a tea towel in each hand, im­me­di­ately turn it out onto a serv­ing plate. Pour some of the warm caramel sauce over the top, al­low­ing it to driz­zle gen­er­ously over the sides. Serve the pud­ding at the ta­ble with vanilla ice-cream and more caramel sauce.

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