Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Your sticky dated antidote to winter blues

So there’s this thing about me. I like desserts that are sweet, spiced, cake like in some form, and definitely doused in caramel. So sticky date pud (SDP to those suffering the affliction) pretty much means edible nirvana. This version is part gingerbread, part molten caramel and it is rich, dark, spicy and unapologetic.

Although it's often grouped with other stodgy heavy hitting desserts, SDP is more like cake made with a more liquidy batter rather than a creamy mixture of beaten eggs, butter, sugar and flour. And the honey pot is without a doubt the vanilla laced dates macerated for texture – making it rich and silky - without making it heavy like other puddings.

This version has less sugar than other recipes because I added white chocolate and I didn’t want it to be mouth-cloyingly sweet. Ditto the caramel with the addition of molasses giving it a deep malt flavour profile rather than super sweet.

85g butter, plus extra for greasing
200g Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
200ml milk (full fat)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
140g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
85g dark muscovado sugar plus extra for dusting
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup Lindt white chocolate chips

Molasses caramel
1 tbsp molasses
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter

Heat oven to 180C.
Lightly grease a deep 2-litre (about 28 x 20cm) oval baking dish or 4-6 1 cup capacity ramekins or
baking vessels. Add the dates and vanilla to a saucepan. Pour over the milk and place over
medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove, add the bicarbonate soda, stir gentlyand then set aside for 
fifteen minutes for the mixture to macerate. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl, then 
add the sugar, butter and eggs. Beat for five minutes or until well combined then fold through the date
mixture and white chocolate chunks then pour into your serving dish or individual cups. Sprinkle over a 
thin layer of dark sugar then pour over boiling water – you want the water to sit about 2 cm above the
batter. Do not stir. Bake for 40-45 mins (if making one large pudding) or about 30 minutes if making 
individual serves, or until the pudding is just firm to the touch. To make the caramel sauce, add the 
butter, sugar and molasses to a saucepan and place over low-medium heat. Cook until the sugar has 
dissolved and is beginning to bubble. Remove from the heat and stir through the cream.

Serve the puddings with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle over the molasses caramel.

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