STICKY TOFFEE AND PEAR TRAYBAKE
This is for my favourite person, my husband Jim. Sticky toffee pudding is one of his all-time favourites. I have included pears to give extra moisture. Serve it with custard, clotted cream or ice cream. SERVES 10 FOR THE PUDDING 90g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 160g stoned dates, roughly chopped 1 tsp vanilla extract 150g light muscovado sugar 2 large eggs, at room temperature 2 tbsp black treacle 175g self-raising flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 100ml milk
Preheat the oven to 170C/ 325F/gas 3. Lightly grease the baking tray and line it with baking parchment. Put the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl and pour over 150ml boiling water. Cover with clingfilm and leave until cold, then add the vanilla extract and mash the dates with a fork – don’t worry if it is a little lumpy.
Peel, quarter and core the pears (remove the stems too). Melt the 40g of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until the mixture bubbles and the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and cook for 5-10 minutes until caramelised and tender, turning them over so that all the sides get nicely browned. Remove from the heat.
To make the pudding batter, beat the butter with the sugar in a bowl until pale and soft. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure the first is well incorporated before adding the next. Add the treacle and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the flour and bicarbonate of soda and add them to the treacle mixture. Gently fold FOR THE PEARS 5 ripe pears 40g unsalted butter 25g golden granulated sugar FOR THE TOFFEE SAUCE 225g light muscovado sugar 100g unsalted butter, softened 275ml double cream 1 tbsp black treacle YOU WILL NEED a 20cm x 30cm baking tray at least 3cm deep to combine, then fold in the milk. Stir in the mashed dates and their soaking liquid.
Arrange the pear quarters in a layer in the baking tray and pour over any buttery juices from the pan. Carefully pour the batter evenly over the pears and pop it in the oven for 45-50 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
While the pudding is baking, make the toffee sauce. Gently heat the sugar, butter and half the cream in a large saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir in the treacle and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, until it turns a rich toffee colour. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the rest of the cream.
Allow the pudding to cool in the tray for 20 minutes, then poke it all over with a toothpick or skewer. Pour over half the toffee sauce and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Invert the traybake on to a large platter or board to serve, with the rest of the toffee sauce for pouring and custard or clotted cream or – better yet – vanilla ice cream.