I've been working on this post since the 12th...because good things need to be lingered over...
*[In the M&S voice ]*
A delicious, soft, moist date sponge, oozing with delicious, buttery toffee sauce, that literally melts into a wondrously gorgeous state of affairs as soon as it hits the tongue ....
This is not just sticky toffee pud - well, actually, that's a lie. It is just Sticky Toffee Pudding. However, it is also one of my all time favourite desserts and a delicacy of the area I'm currently living in.
Thus, I have a perfectly reasonable excuse to try as many as I want.
Problem is, this tends to leave a rather massive hole in my near non-existent budget.
So, being the thrifty, dessert loving gal that I am, I endeavoured to learn how to make it!
I think my recipe is just as delicious as the ones in the restaurants....maybe even better!
Prep Time: 20 minutes (including weighing)
Baking Time: 20 - 45 minutes
Difficulty?: Easy - even if you mess up the sauce, it still tastes great!
For the date sponge: -
200g (1 cup) of dates, pitted and roughly chopped
300ml ( 1 and 1/4 cups) of boiling hot water
1 tsp of baking soda
50g (1/4 cup) butter
175g (3/4 cup) sugar
175g (1 and 3/4 cup) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
For the toffee sauce: -
50g (1/4 cup) butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) of milk
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/160 Degrees Celsius/325 Degrees Fahrenheit if you're using a 9 x 9 inch tin and anything bigger.
However if, like me, you decide to use an inappropriate 7 inch diameter cake tin in a fan assisted oven, turn it down to 150 Degrees Celsius and put it on the bottom rack.
Grease whichever tin you're using.
If you haven't pitted and chopped the dates, you probably need to do that now.
This will take a while, and you will end up with it all over your fingers.
You will come to truly understand where the 'sticky' aspect of this dessert truly comes from.
There's no pictures of this phenomenon since - well, I was too busy eating it off my fingers to take pictures.
When it is done, put it into a bowl and then pour the boiling hot water all over them - this helps them swell up and become even juicier!
Add the teaspoon of baking soda and put it to one side to do....uh, date and soda-y things.
In a big mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
Till it makes a lovely, squishy mixture.
Beat in the eggs. You can do them one at a time, reeeally making sure the first one is completely made a part of the mix, before adding the second one.
Or you could just dump them both in at the same time.
When you've finished, you should have quite a smooth mixture.
Then gently, and slowly, fold the flour and baking powder into the cake mix.
You'll be looking at it now, like "There is no way in heck that this is going to tun out moist."
What, did you forget about the dates and water already?
Gradually add in the dates/water/soda mix, mixing until the entire mix is well combined after each addition.
Pour into the pre-greased tin.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes (if you've used a big tin. If, like me, you've used an inappropriately sized tin, you will have to wait 45 minutes. Sorry, loves!)
Then pop it into the oven and turn your attention to the sauce...the sinfully delectable sauce.
Melt the butter and sugar over a low heat. Then gradually pour in the milk, and sprinkle on the flour.
You have to keep stirring frequently at least every 10 seconds, because the flour is the thickener. And the first time I made it, I put the spoon down for 30 seconds while I went to change the song on my computer.
And I ended up with lumps.
So no pictures of this process, to avoid the lumps.
They were tasty lumps, but lumps nonetheless. So please. Keep stirring.
When the sauce has thickened considerably (it takes about 10 minutes from beginning to end), add the vanilla extract and then take it off the heat.
Check on the sponge. If a fork inserted in the centre comes out with some delectable crumbs hanging on desperately onto it, then it's done.
Basically, as long it's no longer molten.
Take the pudding out of the oven and gently run a spatula around the edge, before turning it out onto it's final serving place.
Turn it right way around and then poke it all over with a fork. Then pour the sauce over the pudding, making sure that a lot of it goes into where the fork has poked though.
And then enjoy. With custard, or ice cream, or by its stunning self.
Because, like Slinkys, that's what it was made for - enjoyment.
It's so....it's just....you know what, I'm running out of words to use to describe this pudding.
No wait. One more.