Rachel Allen's Sticky Toffee Pudding

I'm not a pudding eater as you know but another request from my cousin was the Sticky Toffee Pudding she saw in Bakeand I'd never made it again so I thought it was worth a try. It was incredibly popular and I think may well become a regular for quick, easy make ahead puds that are really impressive. My father-in-law even liked it and he usually is not at all enthused by my cooking. I will definitely try and be more organised and cook this ahead, and maybe even freeze it, when I know I have a dinner party coming up.

Sticky toffee pudding


Serves 6

225g dates (stoned weight), chopped
250ml black tea, not too strong
100g butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Whipped cream to serve

Toffee sauce:
110g butter
250g soft light brown sugar
275g golden syrup
225ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. I made this in a cake tin and then decanted into a round le cruset dish I have so could pour some of the sauce over it. Butter and flour the sides of the tin and line the base with greaseproof paper. You can coo in advance and keep for five or six days in an airtight container in the fridge or three months in the freezer. Just cover with tin foil and warm up in a low oven (defrosting first if frozen).

1. Place the chopped dates and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for a few minutes until the dates are softened and then remove from the heat and put to one side.

2. Beat the butter in a large bowl or in a mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla extract and spices.

3. Fold in the date mixture (including the tea). If you are using a mixer it may be easier to now transfer it all to a big mixing bowl and then sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and fold gently until mixed.

Pre-cooking... not very appetising
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes until the top is just firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

5. Allow to stand in the tin for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a serving plate or dish. While the cake is cooking make the toffee sauce as shown below.

6. I poured some of the sauce over the pudding and then put the rest into a jug so it could be poured over the slices as they were cut. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

For the toffee sauce:

1. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until it has thickened. Serve warm.

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