Sticky Date Pudding with Caramel Sauce
After hearing earlier this week about one Dunedin flat’s dessert of stingray, maple syrup, and ice cream, I thought it might be time to let up on the culinary innovation and return to the classics. Warm, hearty sticky date pudding just cannot be beaten on a cold, wintry Dunedin night. To find a recipe that does this classic justice, again I can’t go past the cookbook from Hawkes Bay restaurant Pipi. I have adapted their crowd-pleasing recipe for you below.
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
3 ½ tsp baking powder
A handful of chocolate chips (optional)
2 cups white sugar
½ cup water
For the puddings:01 | At Pipi they bake individual puddings in baking paper cases. This allows the mixture to spill over the tops of the muffin tin, giving you a much healthier serving. Begin by preheating the oven to 180°C and lining a muffin tray with pieces of baking paper to form the cases. You should get 6 – 8 puddings out of this mixture.
02 | Put the dates and prunes in a pot with the water and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add the baking soda. Whiz this mixture in the most powerful mixing device you have in the flat, preferably a food processor. But don’t worry – it will still be delicious even if you don’t manage to totally blend the mixture.
03 | Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time and beat in thoroughly.
04 | Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, and (if using) add the chocolate.
05 | Combine the sugar and butter with the flour, then slowly mix in the date mixture.
06 | Spoon the batter into the prepared baking paper casings and bake for 30 minutes, or until the outside appears done and the inside is slightly squishy and still deliciously moist.
For the sauce:01 | Caramel sauce can be hard to get exactly right, but do persist. The sugar content is so alarmingly high that it is bound to be scrumptious no matter how badly you screw it up. First, mix the sugar and the water in a pot on a low heat. When it is combined, turn up the temperature and let it come to the boil. When it begins to boil, cover the pot for 3 minutes then let it continue gently boiling until it turns a deep golden colour. Although tempting, apparently it helps not to stir the caramel during this process, as there is a risk that the sugar will crystallise.
02 | Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and the cream.
03 | Serve the puddings with a good dollop of the sauce and ice cream, warmed cream, or yoghurt, depending on your preference.