Sticky toffee pudding with banana sauce
For the sticky toffee pudding 325g stoned dates, roughly chopped
275g dark soft brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar 3 large eggs
90g butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing 300g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the banana caramel sauce 300g butter, cut into pieces 375g light soft brown sugar 150g dark soft brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar 375ml double cream
2 just ripe bananas, chopped (optional)
To serve clotted cream or crème fraîche
30 x 23 x 4cm baking tin
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/ Gas 5. Grease and line the base of the tin with baking parchment.
Put the dates into a saucepan with 225ml water. Cook over a low-medium heat until soft and mushy, and the water is almost all absorbed, about 4-5 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor or use a stick blender and blitz to a purée, then leave to cool slightly.
Whisk the brown sugar and eggs in a large bowl, until light and a bit paler in colour, then whisk in the melted butter.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a separate bowl, then stir into the egg mixture, a third at a time, using a large metal spoon.
Stir in the date purée until combined. The mixture will be soft. Pour it into the tin, spreading gently to smooth the surface.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and firm but springy to the touch.
While the pudding is in the oven, make the banana caramel sauce. Combine all the ingredients, except the bananas, in a large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, stirring regularly.
Increase the heat to medium and bring to a fast simmer, then let it bubble for 1-2 minutes, just to thicken the sauce slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Pour the sauce into a processer (or use a stick blender in the pan), add the chopped bananas, if using, and blitz together until smooth and combined. Warm through gently before serving.
Check the pudding is cooked by inserting a knife into the centre – it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and turn on to a wire rack. Peel off the lining paper, invert the pudding on to a board and cut into 12 squares.
Alternatively, cool the pudding slightly in the tin, then cut into squares and remove the portions, leaving the lining paper behind.
Pour some of the sauce over each portion, then drizzle extra on the plates. Serve with a dollop of clotted cream or crème fraîche.
Tips: The pudding can be made a day or two ahead. Simply make it as directed, then cool completely before wrapping it well and storing in a cool, dry place.
The sauce can also be made ahead and kept in the fridge, then reheated gently to serve.
Any pudding or sauce leftovers will freeze well (separately) for up to 1 month. Thaw at a cool room temperature, then reheat to serve.