The wintery weather outside is beautiful but I hope it doesn’t scupper my plans for Christmas in Ireland. While I wait to see if the snow melts enough I have been tucking in to comfort food. The sort of dishes that warm your belly and brighten up dark winter days. The perfect winter wonder for me is sticky toffee pudding. I have tried many different versions of sticky toffee pudding and settled on what I believe is the perfect combination of dense, moist pudding and sticky sauce. I stud the pudding with dates and also flavour it with Earl Grey tea to add a subtle, fragrant back note.
Whatever your plans are, best wishes for a merry Christmas!
Drizzling the sticky toffee sauce
200g dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of Earl Grey tea freshly boiled
150g castor sugar
180g self-raising flour, sifted
150g soft brown sugar
1 cup thick cream
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Soaking the dates in the Earl Grey tea
1. Heat oven to 180c.
2. Mix dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof container. Pour the just boiled cup of Earl Grey tea over the top and leave to stand.
3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then fold in the sifted flour.
The pudding ready to go in the oven
4. Add the liquid from the date mixture, reserving the dates. Stir well and pour the batter into a lightly buttered cake tin. I used a ring tin but that was just because I had it to hand, any shape is fine.
5. Press the dates firmly into the batter and bake for 45 mins until the pudding shrinks away from the sides and feels springy and firm to touch.
6. To make the sauce combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and bring to the boil then stir and simmer for 5 mins.
7. Cut the pudding into pieces and drizzle the toffee sauce over the top to serve.
The finished pudding