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Sticky Toffee Pudding

A cross between a dessert and a cake, this is that is cooked for longer to make it darker and more intense. If you’d prefer it lighter, cook the caramel until it is pale and golden in colour.

Makes 12–16 individual puddings

Ingredients

  • 200g (1 3⁄4 sticks) butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g (2 cups) stoned (pitted) dates
  • 300ml (11⁄4 cups) water
  • 10g (2 tsp) bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  • 400g (2 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 350g (23⁄4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 20g (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • For the toffee sauce
    • 225g (2 sticks) butter
    • 225g (1 cup) brown sugar
    • 300ml (1 1⁄4 cups) double (heavy) cream

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Grease 12–16 small cake tins or ramekins (the number depends on their capacity).
  2. Place the dates and water in a large saucepan and
    bring to the boil. Add the bicarbonate of soda and simmer for 3–5 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Using a food processor or hand blender, blend the mixture to a coarse sticky consistency, then set aside.
  3. Put the butter and caster sugar into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sift in the flour and baking powder, then continue beating until smooth.  Pour in the milk, then add the vanilla, spice and cooled date mixture. Mix well.
  4. Half-fill the prepared cake tins with the batter and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce. Put the butter, brown sugar and cream into a large saucepan over a medium- low heat and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and cook without stirring for 3–5 minutes, until the mixture is dark and intensely flavoured.  Be careful not to burn the caramel or yourself.
  6. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn them out on to serving plates. Pour the toffee sauce over them and serve at once.