This morning as I was cleaning my refrigerator I found myself conflicted. There were bits of this and that everywhere. Egg whites, egg yolks, a cup of lemon curd, some ganache, dates, nuts, shortcrust pastry and a lot of others. I gave my brains a workout and it came up with a world of possibilities all of which were cold. Not surprising! Normally I wouldn’t want to waste a second once i make a decision especially if the outcome excites me. But today was different. The younger twin contracted an infection 3 days ago and has been down with fever and cold ever since.
Naturally, i had to make a warm dessert. Something I myself would enjoy during minimal taste sensations. No chocolate this time though.
Before I come to the dessert, there is something else I wanted to convey. Since I write so often about my boys, for the sake of blog identity henceforth I will refer to them as Twin 1 and Twin 2. I don’t feel I am justified in calling them older and younger. And incidentally that is how they were addressed after birth for hospital and immunisation records before they had a name.
Lets talk pudding now. There are two parts to my association with Sticky Date Pudding. Before Australia and after Australia. There were a few recipes I followed before moving to Australia which were alright back then. After I ate it at a cafe in Sydney slathered with sauce and downright delicious, I realised that my puddings were not sticky enough. What! It was a Sticky Date Pudding after all. It had to be sticky.
That one was stuck in my head for a fact.
I kept looking for the perfect recipe that would be close to the one I had till i found till one. The butterscotch sauce is what makes the difference. I have made this on a number of occasions and I love the simplicity of the recipe. Make it for your guests and try to stop them from licking the plates. At least don’t risk inviting me over.
The boys joined me in the kitchen. Twin 1 counted the dates while Twin 2 whisked the batter with utmost care. Before we realised the puddings were happily rising in the oven as we waited impatiently trying to save some of the butterscotch sauce. Most of it disappeared before the puddings came out. It was a lot of fun.
A day that started with coughs, sneezes, gloomy faces ended on a delicious note between snuggles, cuddles, mischievous grins and a good deal of spoon licking. Such is the magic of food when made and shared together.
The puddings were for my little boys and the praline for the blog.
I did tell you that I am mothering a new responsibility lately…didn’t I?
Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch sauce and Almond Praline (Adapted from the Masterchef Australia Cookbook)
180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 1/4 cups (310ml) water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
60g butter, softened chopped
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (35g) slivered almonds
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan-forced). Lightly grease eight (1/2 cup capacity) metal dariole moulds. Place dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat. Add bicarbonate of soda, stir until dates start to break down, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
Beat butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand beater, gradually add eggs one at a time, beat until light and fluffy. Add date mixture, stir to combine. Carefully fold through sifted flour, divide mixture evenly between the eight moulds, until 2/3 full. Place moulds in a baking tray, carefully pour water in tray until it comes up 1/3 of the sides of the mould. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden and skewer comes out clean.
Meanwhile for the almond praline, combine sugar and 2 tbsp water in a saucepan and cook caramel over medium heat without stirring, swirling pan until deep golden. Scatter almonds onto a baking paper lined tray. Pour caramel and cool until set. Break praline into pieces.
For the butterscotch sauce combine butter, sugar, cream and vanilla extract in a saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
To serve, invert the hot pudding onto a serving plate, top with butterscotch sauce and shards of praline.