Sticky toffee pudding, two recipes

Sticky toffee pudding, vanilla ice-cream

The past three weekends I’ve done sticky toffee pudding for Sunday lunch. This is in part because it’s a delicious pudding, but also because, well, January is a horrible time of year in Britain: Christmas festivities are behind you, it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s dank. If there’s a time of the year when you can justify indulging in sweet stodge, it’s now, you need that carb comfort. Save your de-toxes and dietary self-deprivation for a nice time of the year – May or June say, when there’s new life, new growth, longer days, more light.

Sticky toffee pudding is usually made by baking a batter, which gets its character from the inclusion of dates that have been soaked in boiling water, with a toffee sauce poured over the finished cake. The past few weeks I tried Felicity Cloake’s recipe, which is great, but not perfect (there’s not enough sauce for starters) then my own baked version (below). But it got me thinking, what about a steamed version?

I grew up eating treacle sponge pudding, a steamed pudding where you put golden syrup into a pudding basin, then cover it with a batter and steam it. The result is genuinely sticky, and lovely, and a must in winter. I wanted to try the same with sticky toffee, putting some of the sauce into the basin before cooking to give a similar result.

Steaming is an old-fashioned way of cooking puddings that’s not that common now. It takes longer than baking, so make sure you check the timing of your meal as it’s always nice to serve a steamed pudding straight away, turned out and freshly oozing and steaming. When I made this on Sunday, to accompany a bonanza of pork smoked by Fran and her brother Al, I failed miserably with this as we were playing in the park and I left it too late. This one is made in a 1.2 litre pudding basin, so it takes a while for the heat to cook the batter all the way through: mine took four hours.

This sort of cooking is especially good if you have a range cooker or woodburner, where a pan can just steam away quietly with no extra energy demand. We’ve got an induction hob now, which is very energy efficient, so steaming is a good choice. On more conventional cookers, too, it’s no so bad, as it only requires a low flame.

Sauce
300g cream
100g caster sugar
100g dark muscovado sugar
100g butter

Batter
240g stoned dates, chopped
250g boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

175g butter, softened
80g caster sugar
80g dark muscovado sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour [or 170g of plain/all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder*]
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grate of lemon zest

1. Grease a 1.2 litre pudding basin.
2. Put the dates and bicarb in a bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave to soak for at least 10 minutes.
3. Make the sauce by combining the cream, butter and sugars in a saucepan and heating slowly on the hob. When all melted, increase the heat to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Put about 4 tablespoonfuls of the sauce in the base of the basin and leave the rest in the pan for serving.

Cream butter and sugars
5. Make the batter  by creaming together the butter and sugars until light.
6. Add the beaten egg, along with the vanilla and lemon zest, a little at a time. Add a little of the flour if it starts to curdle.
7. Sieve in the rest of the flour and fold it through.

Add the dates
8. Pour all the date gloop into the batter and blend. It’s not the nicest looking batter, but don’t worry, it’ll taste great.
9. Put this batter into the basin.

Seal the basin
10. Cover the basin with a piece of foil or parchment, with a pleat in it, and tie a piece of string around the rim, to secure.
11. To steam the pudding, I just use a vegetable steamer set over a pan over simmering water, but you can also use a large pan, with a heatproof plate set in the bottom, and filled with water to half-way up the pudding basin.
12. Steam for about 3 1/2 hours. If it’s not cooked through it can collapse, ruining your ta-da! moment, so take the basin out of the steamer, remove the string and check the mixture. You should be able to see very clearly if the batter hasn’t quite turned into sponge pudding yet. If it hasn’t reseal the foil and continue to steam.
13. When the pudding is almost cooked, warm up the sauce again.
14. Turn the pudding out onto a warmed plate, and serve immediately. Either pour the sauce over the pudding before cutting it, or pour the sauce over individual wedges. For added decadence, add a blob of whipped cream, clotted cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Invert the basinRemove the basin

Sticky toffee pudding - drizzle with sauce 1Sticky toffee pudding - drizzle with sauce 2

Sticky toffee pudding - drizzle with sauce 3

The result is good. It’s considerably more sticky than a normal, baked sticky toffee pudding, which relies on the sauce for any stickiness. This is sticky all the way through, it’s denser, gooey, oozey. I’m not saying it’s better, it’s just suprisingly different considering how the flavours are the same: it’s just a question of texture.

Baked version

Make them both, compare, enjoy the sugary, stodgy winter foods!

Batter
240g stoned dates, chopped
250g boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

120g butter, softened
80g caster sugar
80g dark muscovado sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla essence
Grate of lemon zest
240g SR flour

Sauce
300g cream
100g caster sugar
100g dark muscovado sugar
100g butter

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
3. Put the dates and bicarb in a bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave to soak for at least 10 minutes.
3. Cream the butter and sugars, then add the beaten egg, along with the vanilla and lemon zest, a little at a time. Add a little of the flour if it starts to curdle.
4. Sieve in the rest of the flour and fold to it through.
5. Pour all the date gloop into the batter and blend.
6. Put the sloppy batter in a 20cm ish square tin or crockery dish and bake for about 40 minutes or until risen and firm.
7. Meanwhile make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan, heating them to melt. When all melted together, bring to the boil and cook for about 5 mins.
8. When the cake part is baked through, remove from the oven.
9. Serve the cake warm, cut into chunks, with the sauce poured over and a blob of thick cream, ideally clotted cream, or with vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Oh, and for any North Americans struggling with my British English use of the word “pudding”, check out this post.

 

 

* Converting plain/all-purpose flour to self-raising involves replacing 5% of the flour with baking powder. I wrote a whole post on it here. As 5% of 175g is 8.75g, which is a bit awkward. So as a teaspoon is 5 ml, or effectively 5g of powder, let’s just call it 1 1/2 teaspoons (sure, that’s closer to 7.5g, but it’ll be fine when steamed. If you’re fussed, just heap up your teaspoon a bit).

Advertisements

18 Comments

Filed under Baking, Puddings & desserts, Recipes

18 responses to “Sticky toffee pudding, two recipes

  1. Sharon

    Looks amazing ! Gutted we missed it!

  2. Yum! I love steamed pudding- great instructions and photos, thanks.

    • Thanks! Do you make any particular ones over there in Aotearoa?

      • Kia Ora! Yes there is ‘Marae Steamed Pudding’ – I have been meaning to make it. I have seen it cooked in cans, and I have saved a large can to one day make it. It will be post worthy! If you google Marae Steamed Pudding there are lots of recipes. I remember seeing one in an old book so I will probably do that one, and will be sure to post!

      • Thanks Candace. I’ve had a quick look – sounds like it’s defined by burnt sugar. Intriguing. You will have to do a post on it one day. Presumably it can be cooked in a hangi? Not something I do very often (er, never), but good to know for future reference.

      • Hi, as far as I know it is a post European food tradition with the introduction of wheat products. I only know of the stove top cooking method as the hangi cooking method would flavour the pudding. Food cooked in a hangi has an earthy smokey taste. 🙂

      • Yep, I’ve done hangi cooking. I quite like the idea of it being smokey along with all the other foods. Just a thought though. I’m not going to rush out and dig a pit in the garden (vile weather in SE England this morning).

  3. Steamed was possibly my favourite, although the others weren’t bad either. Can’t believe I’ve had sticky toffee pudding at least twice a week for the last three weeks. It’s an anti-diet!

  4. Ma

    Promises, promises. We will have to come again for a taste test. I have always found Rick Stein’s recipe in his Tastes of the Sea book to be reliable and yummy, but will try one of these next time.

  5. Great puddings, love them remind me of my Gran. really good instructions too..

  6. My partner would die for a slice of this.

  7. Kit

    Made the baked variety for friends today, top marks from everyone (even the cat was caught with his nose in the sauce!). Turns out Rob was making chocolate orange squares at the same time, something of an Etherington bake off!

  8. Les

    is the baking time, 1 Hour and 40 Minutes? or 40 Minutes?

    Cheers Les

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s