There’s one pudding that always makes an appearance in the Baking with Granny household at Christmas (or any special occasion to be honest) and that is Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Why Sticky Toffee Pudding is always a winner in our house is simple…it is amazing! A real family favourite for all of us; soft, sticky sponge, doused in a rich & creamy toffee sauce. Served with your choice of pouring cream, ice cream or (my favourite) custard. It’s no wonder it’s a winner with everyone, from Papa, to the boys.
What Granny likes most about Sticky Toffee Pudding is how well it keeps when made in advance. There’s some recipes that are best enjoyed within the first day or two of being made; Sticky Toffee Pudding however can be made weeks in advance and popped in the freezer. This could be why we always have it on Christmas Day – we’d much rather spend that extra time as a family than preparing yet another dish.
That being said, we usually end up with a small serving of Sticky Toffee Pudding, due to stuffing our faces with the many other dishes we’ve spent the day preparing instead.
Dried Pitted Dates
I was (rather shamefully) well into adulthood before discovering that the main staple ingredient in Sticky Toffee Pudding is dates. But given that you will blend/mash them, it’s perhaps not that obvious.
This is to soak your dates. They provide the moisture and body of the pudding sponge.
Butter or Margarine
It’s personal preference which you use. I usually use margarine as a way to omit dairy from the recipe but Granny prefers butter. Just make sure whatever you use is softened before you start.
Soft Dark Brown Sugar
There is a lot of sugars out there to choose from but Granny has it sussed that a soft Dark Brown sugar is the best for Sticky Toffee Pudding. If you’re struggling to find some, a standard light soft brown sugar would suffice.
The size of your eggs doesn’t matter too much, just be sure to check they are free-range.
For that deep colour and warming flavour, treacle is a must! For those outside the UK struggling to get treacle, molasses can be used as a substitute, although you may need to experiment with the quantities to get the perfect flavour.
Similar to treacle, golden syrup will give your Sticky Toffee Pudding a warming flavour but also an undeniable punch of extra sweetness.
A nice little extra that gives a familiar undertone to the flavours.
With a lot of wet ingredients in this recipe, the lift that self-raising flour provides is a must. Remember to sift it before adding to the batter too!
Bicarbonate of Soda
The flour does lift the batter but bicarbonate of soda adds a little extra science to the mixture and causes a chemical reaction to make your pudding rise more – neat, huh?
For the Toffee Sauce
- 100 g Butter or Margarine
- 100 g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
- 150 ml Double Cream
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°c (160°c for fan assisted oven or Gas Mark 4). Grease a square 8 inch baking tin with butter/margarine and dust it with a little flour too. Set aside.
- Place the dates and water into a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer for a minute before removing from the heat and setting aside to steep.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter/margarine and sugar until it is well mixed. Add the syrup, treacle, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Gently sift in the flour and fold together to create a batter. Set aside.
- With a hand blender, mix the date and water mixture (alternatively, mash with a potato masher), then add the bicarbonate of soda and mix. The mixture will have a frothy consistency – this is normal.
- Whilst the date mixture is still warm, add it to the batter and mix to combine before pouring the completed batter mixture to your pre-greased baking tin.
- Bake in your pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes until the pudding is firm. Once cool enough to touch, turn the pudding out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, use a knife to loosen the edges from the tin and cut into 9 individual portions. See notes for instructions on making ahead and storing/freezing.
For the Toffee Sauce
- Place the butter/margarine, brown sugar and cream into a small pan and gently bring to a boil before reducing the heat to simmer for a few minutes, continuously stirring.
- Pour over your pudding portions before serving.
Keep the container into the freezer and defrost the required portions when needed by removing them from the freezer a few hours before they are to be eaten.
To warm up the Sticky Toffee Pudding portions, simply pop them into the microwave for a couple of minutes, or in an oven-proof dish covered in tin foil for a little longer. You can also prepare your Toffee Sauce a week in advance and store in a jar or sealed container, kept in the fridge. Warm the sauce in a small pan over a low-medium heat when required.