I think we can all agree, it's pudding weather.
And more specifically: sticky date pudding?
Since the weekend there has been a lovely white blanketing of Snow On The Mountain. An icy little breeze cutting through the sharp sunshine. I try to drink an entire cup of tea before it goes cold; no luck at all.
But bubbling hot caramel sauce, dark and brooding, retains its heat well, all the way down to my belly. It's this burnished sauce that puts the 'sticky' into these puddings. And even though the sauce is made with an entire pot of cream (what an exhilarating feeling to up-end it freely!), there's no reason not to add some more - whether it be the thick double cream variety, or tart sour cream, or, for the perverse, ice cream - over these drowned little cakes.
Actually, they're not so little; they're big and moist and flavoursome. Made with sweet dates and a little mixed spice for warmth; made in deep Texas muffin tins. So these big little puddings require lots of caramel sauce, and then a bit more.
Because there is Snow On The Mountain, and will probably be more for some time yet. So eat up. Bikini season is a long way off.
Sticky date puddings + caramel sauce
Torn from an old supermarket magazine years ago
- For the puddings, preheat oven to 180 and grease a Texas muffin tin (6 holes).
- Place 150 grams chopped dates into a saucepan with 3/4 cup boiled water; bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir thru 1 tspn bicarb of soda. Beyond fizzing, I don't know what bicarb does either.
- Cream 80 grams butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tspn vanilla extract; then beat in 2 eggs. When combined, add 1 cup SR flour and 1/2 tspn mixed spice. Then stir in the date mixture.
- Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes until done (cake starts to come away from tin, skewer comes out clean, kitchen smells delicious). Cool in tin for a few minutes before turning out.
- For the sauce, combine 1 cup brown sugar (dark by preference), 300 ml thickened cream, 1 tspn vanilla and 60 grams butter in a medium saucepan - it bubbles as it cooks so you need the wriggle room (I used a small saucepan and had to pretty quickly transfer it to something bigger, or I would have had caramel sauce all over my stovetop).
- Cook over medium heat until it comes to the boil, then reduce way down and simmer - this should take about five minutes all up. Stir constantly, watch vigilently, do not walk away.