Darren Wogman |Hungry Darren| Recipe Time - Sticky Toffee Pudding (Tray bake)
The second recipe I'm going to share with you is another one that's tried and tested. This time I'm turning to and often overlooked, but essential part of the meal. Dessert. This recipe is definitely one for those with a sweet tooth. Having said that, it can be moderated to bring it down, if needed.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Often thought of a true British classic. But how accurate is that?
It appears that this staple of the British dinner table may well owe its existence to some Canadians (at least it's Commonwealth!). One story goes that it was a pair of Canadian Air Force pilots that presented a recipe to a hotelier in the Midlands of the UK, during their time stationed there in World War 2. It was only after the war that this recipe spread further afield and became the sensation it is today.
Personally, the idea that this pudding only goes as far back as World War 2 surprised me a great deal. Despite these rather unorthodox beginnings, sticky toffee pudding remains a staple on any restaurant menu.
The Darren Wogman |Hungry Darren| Take on Sticky Toffee Pudding
Like any Sticky Toffee Pudding, a lot of what makes this great is the sauce. It wouldn't be 'sticky' without it and the application of the sauce is a key step that can't be missed. I also make mine as a tray bake, opposed to individual puddings. I find that it's easier, means you can portion out how you like and also helps keep everything moist and sticky.
Just to comment a little on the ingredients. I have found that it really does matter which types of sugars you use and certainly which variety of dates. It has to be Medjool. They themselves are sticky and syrupy which a rich toffee-like flavour and it's this that is needed for the pudding. The other varieties of dates are drier, firmer and have a milder taste. This simply won't do for our pudding!
The same applied to the sugars. It's the combination of dark Muscovado and light brown sugars which give the rich deep toffee flavour and colour. These sugars are almost molasses rich and if you used regular caster sugar, you would be missing out on some of the depth of flavour.
The butter for the sauce must be salted. This is really important otherwise it can really tip this into being too sickly. No one wants that.
Last thing to say before I give the full ingredients list - This serves a generous 6. Scale up the ingredients, keeping with the same ratios for a larger pudding. If ever in doubt, you can't have too much sauce. Enjoy!
The Sticky Toffee Pudding: 175g Medjool dates (Pitted)
150ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (extract is fine too)
175g lightly salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
50g dark muscovado sugar
50g soft light brown sugar
175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
The Sticky Toffee Sauce:
150ml double cream
100g dark muscovado sugar
75g salted butter
Vanilla Custard to serve (A Darren Wogman |Hungry Darren| top tip)
1) Preheat your oven to 160°C if fan assisted. 180°C if not. Butter and line a relatively shallow baking tray. Nothing too deep - a cake tin isn;t ideal, but anything goes with this recipe.
2) Chop all the dates and remove the pits, if necessary. Put these aside in a small bowl.
These should be roughly chopped, to be honest, you'll struggle to get them particularly fine anyway as the paper thin skins crack easily, and you end up with a rather jammy mess. Do your best and don't worry.
3) Pour 150ml of just boiled water over the dates. Add a tea bag and the teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Give it a quick stir and leave it on the side for at least ten minutes. Then chuck the teabag away.
3) Add the vanilla to the date mixture and work this all into a thick and chunky paste with a fork
4) Beat together the softened butter, light brown and muscovado sugars until they are smooth. You're looking for creamy texture with an even colour - that means all the sugar has distributed through the butter and vice versa.
Then whisk in each of the following, giving a hearty mix and beat after each addition:
At this point, you may panic because the mixture can often look a little split. Do not worry. This is a very forgiving recipe and it'll all come back together in the next step, with the flour.
5) Add the flour by passing it through a sieve and fold it gently into the mixture. You are wanting to try and preserve as much air and volume as possible from the whisking in the previous step.
Let it sit for a short minute.
6) Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray or tin and try to smooth it all over. Do not bang the tray, you'll lose some of those air bubbles you've worked so hard to get in there.
This then goes in the oven for around half an hour. Do check it periodically, use a kebab skewer the check for doneness.
7) While the pudding is baking away in the oven, it's time to make the sause. This is so easy to do, which is a real relief.
In a saucepan, warm the cream.
8) Then add the muscovado and the salted butter.
9) Stir this continuously until everything has melted and dissolved together. You're looking for a velvety smooth, light brown sauce.
10) By now the pudding will be almost finished. Once it's ready, take it out the oven and while it's still hot spoon over enough of the sauce to cover the whole top. This will set slightly and give a sticky finish to the cake.
I always try and go for an extra covering once the first layer has set a little. Feel free to try something different.
11) Cut this into 6 generous pieces - or 8 smaller ones. Serve with your sauce and vanilla custard for the ultimate indulgence, or ice cream.
12) Be smug and tuck in to a pud well worthy of your efforts.