Friday, September 14, 2012

Perfect Day with Sticky Date Pudding

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
My idea of a perfect day would be one that is cold and rainy.  I imagine myself in tartan pyjamas and comfy woolen socks, waking up with messy bed hair. With a cup of hot steaming tea, I creep up to the attic, nestle myself in a big old arm chair and bury my head in a good novel.   Sounds idyllic? Extremely. Especially since I have no attic, no big old arm chair and no tartan pyjamas.   
 
Two things I have though, a good novel and strong, aromatic earl grey tea.  I am currently reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I am only a third through the book and it is a wonderful read so far.  Everytime I read a good book, I marvel at the author's writing and creativity.  I have no ambitions on being a writer, but I do wish to possess good writing and story-telling skills.  The ability to arouse emotions and capture interest through the use of words is such a gift.  I will be extremely contented the day I can write like Jane Austen. (This girl can dream.)
 
 
 
 
 
What would make my perfect day even more perfect? A delightful warming dessert to go with my tea.  Now, it would never have crossed my mind that I would be able to make sticky date pudding if not for a friend from secondary school.  I had the notion that it is a luscious and ridiculously complicated dessert which you can only order in restaurants or cafes. Contrary to what I thought, it is relatively painless and easy to make. 
 
A couple of weeks back, my friend had a few of us over at her place.  We all brought our little contributions to the potluck, but she bowled us over with her sticky date pudding.  She is very much a baker as I am a dreamer, so do hop over to her blog to check out her bakes.  She pens the recipes down with so much detail that I would be an absolute clod if I failed at this simple cake.  I have to confess that I bungled at making the sauce.  Mine turned out as butter-scorched instead of butterscotch sauce.  I guess that makes me half a clod.
 
Butterscorched or butterscotch, it was a wonderfully heartwarming treat since the cake is served warm with a generous drizzling of sauce, and usually topped with scoop of vanilla ice-cream. 
 
Imagine.  Cold day, out-of-bed hair, tartan pyjamas, attic, old arm chair, good novel, cup of hot tea and a warm, decadent sticky date pudding served with ice-cream. Utter bliss.  My perfect day.
 
 
Vanilla ice-cream with butterscotch sauce.
When I am too slothful to bake, ice-cream is a good enough to make my perfect day.
 
 
Sticky Date Pudding (Recipe adapted from here)


Cake:
270g pitted dates (I used King Soloman Deri Dates)
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp bicarb soda
60g unsalted butter, chopped
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
100g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C.

1. Place dates and water in a pot, bring to boil on high heat.
2. Add bicarb soda and unsalted butter. Remove from heat and cool for around 10 min.
(be careful, the mixture will bubble up when soda is added, make sure the pot has sufficient height)
3. Blend the mixture with a hand blender (I used my food processor)
4. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and blend to combine, short few pulses is sufficient.
5. Mix all flour and sugar in a separate bowl and ensure that sugar has no clumps.
6. Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold in to combine.

Pour into lined 8-in pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. I tent it after 30 minutes to prevent a charred top.
(If using muffin cups, bake for 25 - 30 minutes)
I made half the above portion in a 15-inch pan and baked for 40 minutes.


Butterscotch sauce:

180g thickened cream
160g brown sugar
150g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer at low heat for around 5 minutes, constantly stirring the mixure until it thickens.

(I scorched my sauce!  It turned out fairly dark. So be careful here and put it over really low heat)
Once cake is done, cool for 10 minutes. Poke numerous holes in the cake and drench the sauce over cake. This ensure that the dates become sticky with the caramel sauce.

Drizzle more butterscotch for that additional buttery sweetness.
Serve warmed with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for best enjoyment.
The sauce can be refrigerated and stored for up to 2 weeks. Reheat before use.
Puddings can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and warm before serving.

 

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