Nigel Barden’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Sticky, gooey, and sumptuous - this recipe is the business! Originally invented at the Sharrow Bay hotel in the Lake District, this dish has become famous all over the world. This recipe is a variation created by Nigel Barden and it is superb. Serves 4 most generously or 6 who will want more!

Ingredients

  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted English butter
  • 2 large whole free range eggs
  • 200g whole stoned Medjool dates chopped small
  • 5g or 1 rounded teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
  • 260g freshly kettle boiled water
  • 175g self raising flour
  • Seeds from inside ½ a vanilla pod or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 450g double cream
  • 40g black treacle
  • 100g dark soft brown sugar
  • The de-seeded vanilla pod if using (waste not want not)

Method

  1. First boil and then weigh the water - weighing is a lot more accurate than using a measuring jug.
  2. Carefully add the chopped dates and bi-carbonate of soda (use a large container as the bi-carbonate of soda will make the water fizz up) and leave to soften for around 10 minutes.
  3. Using the paddle/beater attachment of your mixer, cream the butter & golden caster sugar until they lighten slightly in colour - approx 5 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla seeds (or extract if using) and turn the mixer down to its slowest speed.
  5. Sift and add the self raising flour followed immediately by the eggs, gradually add the date water mix. Beat for 2 minutes then using a spatula scrape down and gradually increase the mixer speed to around medium until the mixture is evenly mixed (the mixture will be a loose thick pourable batter-like texture-do not be tempted to add any more flour!)
  6. Pour the mixture into a buttered and  floured 20cmx20cmx6cm square baking dish and bake at 180C or 375F, gas mark 5 (170C for fan ovens) for 30-40 minutes - a knife inserted should come out clean.
  7. Meanwhile place the double cream, black treacle, de-seeded vanilla pod and dark soft brown sugar in a pan, stirring occasionally, bring to the boil and switch off heat.
  8. As soon as your pudding comes out of the oven pour over around half of the toffee sauce onto the pudding (having removed the vanilla pod) and place under a pre-heated grill on highest heat to toffeefy the top (cheffy types use a blow torch if desired)
  9. Serve with the accompanying sauce and a simple vanilla ice cream

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