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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Baker's Corner: Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce


Anytime I think about dates (the eating variety!), I invariably think about my early life in the Middle East. I love this exotic fruit so much yet I think it is odd that I don't eat them very often. There was a time when I would eat oatmeal very frequently for breakfast and add a handful of chopped dates and other dried fruits and nuts into it to make it more palatable but my oatmeal days have long gone flying out of the window! The only other time I eat dates is in India where the relentless festivals and functions ensure that I have them in the form of sweet dishes such as halwa or kheer.

Last Christmas, I was at P.S Cafe at Palais with a bunch of girlfriends and one of them suggested that I try the Sticky Date Pudding because that was one of their specialties. Even though I was bursting from the main course, I didn't want to miss the chance! It was absolutely divine and worth another (or several) trips to P.S Cafe in the future. Mmmmm.....the thoughts of that tantalizing pudding lingered in my mind for several days after that, so much so that I made a mental note to learn how to make it at home. However with other things on my mind, I soon forgot all about it.

Recently, I happened to spot a package of Medjool dates at the supermarket during my weekly grocery shopping round and memories of the Sticky Date Pudding came flooding back. I hadn't settled on any particular recipe yet so I fervently hoped that I had the rest of the ingredients in my pantry to make it! Me and hubs were invited to one of my friend's home for lunch over the weekend so I thought I would make it for her and her family. I've always been fascinated with the idea of taking home-made baked goodies as a gift à la Bree Van de Kamp of Desperate Housewives....I think its sweet! I obviously set aside a huge chunk for the two of us in the fridge :)

The recipe that is given in this post is an adaptation of Poh's (runner-up of Masterchef Australia) Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce. I have tweaked it a little especially the procedure for the butterscotch sauce because I felt the outcome would be better. I feel the term 'pudding' is a bit misleading because this dessert is more cake-like. It didn't taste exactly like the Sticky Date Pudding I had at P.S Cafe but it still was pretty darn good :)

So what are you waiting for....get ready for date night!


Preparation time: 25 min
Baking time: 35 - 40 min
Cooking time for Butterscotch Sauce: ~ 30 min
Serves: 8-10 people
Recipe Level: Easy

Ingredients:

For the Date Pudding:

200gm dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup (250ml) water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
100gm unsalted butter, softened
140gm caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
185gm plain flour, sifted
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, sifted

For the Butterscotch Sauce

50gm unsalted butter
180gm brown sugar (preferably dark brown)
160ml heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt


Method:

For the Date pudding:

1. Place the dates, ginger, water and bicarbonate soda in a small sauce pan and bring to the boil. Let the moisture evaporate. Set aside to cool.


2. Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides and bottom with butter. Preheat oven to 170°C


3. In an electric cake mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 


4. Add the eggs one by one, beating thoroughly each time. Add in the vanilla extract and beat. 


5. Using a spatula, fold in the sifted flour and baking powder in batches and date mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Tap to make the surface even. 


6. Bake on the middle shelf for approximately 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the pudding comes out clean.



For the Butterscotch Sauce:

1. In a heavy bottomed stainless steel saucepan, melt butter over low to medium heat. Just before butter is melted, add all brown sugar at once and stir with wooden spoon until sugar is uniformly wet.
2. Stir infrequently until mixture goes from looking grainy to molten lava (about 3 - 5 min).
3. At this point add all the cream at once and replace your spoon with a whisk. Lower heat a little and whisk cream into mixture. When liquid is uniform, turn heat back to medium and whisk every few minutes for a total of 10 min.
4. After liquid has been boiling on the stove for 10 min, turn heat off and let rest for a minute or two before transferring into a heatproof bowl. Cool to room temperature.
5. Whisk in the salt and vanilla extract. Taste and adjust with salt and vanilla extract until the flavor of  butterscotch is achieved. 


6. Serve the pudding warm with a large spoonful of the butterscotch sauce drizzled directly onto the pudding, a dollop of double cream or vanilla ice-cream. 

I
Notes:
  • I used a springform cake pan so I lined only the bottom. If you are using a regular cake pan, it would be advisable to line all the surfaces
  • The cake is moderately sweet by itself so if you don't want it to get too sweet, go easy on the butterscotch sauce! 
  • This cake becomes dry upon refrigeration but a few seconds in the microwave turns it warm and moist. 
  • You can also serve this pudding with fresh fruit like strawberries 

3 comments:

  1. I love dates and making sticky toffee pudding is on my to-do list. Yours looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh yum, your cake looks and sounds so delicious! The butterscotch sauce looks divine!

    ReplyDelete

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