I love pudding. I know it's not winter anymore, but there might be just a few chilly nights left to sneak a pudding or two in!
Sticky date is one of my all time faves, and as I hadn't gotten around to it this year, last weekend I decided to make it as a treat for D and I. My parents have a beach house up in Yeppoon, and we were there for a 4 day break.
I really enjoy cooking in the kitchen up there. Gorgeous views, huge oven, lots of bench space - what more could you want?! D often sits on a bar stool on the other side of the bench andd chats to me while I mess around. Some of my fondest memories of us together are in that kitchen.
So when I started digging around for sticky date pudding recipes, I remembered my Mum had a great recipe from her primary school cook book. It's got less butter in the 'cake' part than usual, and a bit less sugar too. This makes an insanely rich dish, slightly less overwhelming. I rang Mum up, had her recite it over the phone and scrawled it on a scrap piece of paper.
The only additions I make to her recipe is SPICE. I love any of the chai spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardomom, ground clove. Shake in any amount that pleases you and yours.
I love all versions of this pudding, and I wanted to jazz up the sauce a bit. Cream, butter and brown sugar certainly make for a beautiful silky butterscotch sauce, but I always find it a bit sickly after a few spoonfuls. I love adding new flavours to old favourites, especially ways to make super-sweet things a little less so. This is where the rum came in!
After I'd melted the butter with the cream and sugar, brought it to the boil and let it simmer for a few minutes, D brought me a bottle of Bundy (class!) and we slugged in a capful. Talk about a winner! Way to 'adultify' a family favourite! Any dark spirit you enjoy would work well in this sauce.
200g pitted dried dates (medjool are exceptional, but the regular baking aisle variety will do)
1 teaspoon of bicarb
Spices - ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardomom or clove are great.
1 cup of boiling water
60g of softened butter
1/2 cup of caster sugar (brown sugar works too)
2 eggs (room temp is best, but if they're straight from the fridge, pop them in to a cup of warm water for a few minutes)
1 1/3 cup of self-raising flour
1 cup of firmly backed of brown sugar
1 cup of pure cream or thickened cream
100 g of chopped cold butter
1 capful of your favourite brown booze
Preheat your oven to 180°c. Grease your favourite cake tin - something around 6cm-deep, 18cm diameter cake pan. Lining the base with baking paper will make your life easier when it comes to turning out the cake/pudding; highly recommended.
Place dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof bowl. Add boiling water. Stand for 20 minutes or until tender.
Beat the butter and sugar until pale & creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the date mixture and the sifted flour. Stir that stuff together to make an gooey batter.
Pour mixture into the cake pan and bake for 40 or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Beware of overcooking - as this recipe has less butter and sugar than some, it can become quite dry if overcooked. Stand for 10 minutes before you turn it out onto a wire rack.
Plop the sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring, for a few minutes or until boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Add your booze right at the end, whisk in and then pour warm sauce over warm cake or directly on your face.
Serve with good vanilla ice-cream, or cream, or BOTH!!