Sinfully Sticky, Devilishly Divine

When one thinks of pudding in America, it’s often times connected to the face of Bill Cosby (maybe with a big cringe lately),

Jell-O brand chocolate pudding

or possibly communal homes for the elderly. Chances are, if you attended a fine dinner party and the host announced he was about to unveil the lovely pudding that took him hours to make, many of you would have glanced around the table wondering who was going to crack a smile first.

But since you are of the sophisticated set, most of you will already know that in Great Britain, a pudding is nothing to trifle with. There are savory and sweet puddings: black puddings or blood puddings, meat puddings, rice puddings, bread puddings, hasty puddings, peas puddings, summer puddings, plum puddings, Yorkshire puddings and believe it or not, suet filled puddings, too. Shan’t let anything go to waste. Leftovers? Steam it with some currants and beef fat … presto! Pudding.

Although having spent a big fat chunk of time in the UK, I’ve not developed quite the taste for all things pudding-like, but there is one I’ve managed to become fairly addicted to. Sticky Toffee Pudding. And since some of you may dip your toe into the quick-to-be-gaining-popularity Burns Supper, I offer you a Pudding for dessert. (And if you haven’t already, check out the whisky review for said supper on the whisky-wise page.)

Sticky Toffee Pudding has gained huge popularity in Great Britain and its origin is always in dispute. Whether it was the landlady of The Gait Inn in Millington selling it in 1907, either the Saplinbrae House Hotel or the Udny Arms Hotel—both in Aberdeenshire with bets placed on the table for being the first, or Francis Coulson from Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in the Lake District in 1960, one thing remains true; this is an outstanding example of how you can take regular ingredients, chuck them together, and make magic.

I leave you with two choices: Make your own, in which you will be heralded as a food god/goddess and showered with unrelenting praise, or order it from The English Pudding Company. They are clever folk who will save you time and not mind if you accept the forthcoming praise as if you deserved it. Shhh … your secret is safe with me. (wink wink)

 Sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce

Adapted from Sweet Baby James by James Martin

Use either a 12.5cm/5in pudding basin, or two or three 7.5cm/3in metal pudding basins.


For the pudding

  • 90g/3oz butter, softened
  • 30g/1oz plain flour
  • 200g/7oz dried dates, pits removed
  • 300ml/10¾fl oz water
  • 170g/6oz dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp black treacle (or molasses)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 200g/7oz self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

For the sauce

  • 225ml/8 fl oz double cream
  • 50g/1.75oz butter
  • 175g/6oz light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle (or molasses)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation method

  1. For the pudding, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Butter the pudding basins really well with a third of the softened butter, then dust with the plain flour.
  2. Place the dates and the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  3. Whisk the remaining butter and the sugar together in a large bowl using an electric beater until light and fluffy. Gradually add the golden syrup, treacle, vanilla extract and eggs to the mixture and continue beating. Turn the beaters down to a slow speed and add the self-raising flour, a spoon at a time. Beat until all the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Purée the hot water and date mixture in a food processor or blender and add the bicarbonate of soda. Quickly add this to the mixture in the bowl while it is still hot. Stir to combine and fill two or three 7.5cm/3in metal pudding basins (or one 12.5cm/5in pudding basin) with the mixture.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is just firm to the touch.
  6. For the sauce, place all the sauce ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
  7. To serve, remove the puddings from the moulds and put on a serving plate with lots of the hot sauce on the top. Serve with ice cream or dare to be different by placing a tblsp of soft sheep’s cheese on top
  8. I highly suggest a few oz. of double chocolate stout as an accompaniment in place of a dessert wine.

Here’s the link for the “if you’re in a hurry” mode.

Happy Burns Night!

Now don’t forget to head on over to the main post (here) to see what I’m bletherin’ on about this week. And check out what we’re talkin’ bout down at the pub (here) too.


Don't hold back ... Hail and Speak!

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