Sticky Date Pudding is one of my favourite desserts of all time. I first tried Sticky Date when we moved to Griffith, NSW. Griffith has the best food and wine around, and we were spoilt for choice. On one of my mum’s visits she insisted Mr8 (then only Mr3) and I go out for coffee, and because we were young parents of a baby living in a new place with no babysitters, we quickly took her up on her offer and found ourselves a lovely little coffee shop with the most amazing desserts cabinet. At first I was disappointed when Mr8 told me he had ordered us the Sticky Date Pudding, it sounded stodgy and old fashioned, but when I tasted it, it was amazing and I knew I had to find myself a recipe for those times that we couldn’t pick up and go out to a coffee shop alone. And the sauce, I love it absolutely smothered in this sauce. I used to think Sticky Date was a time-consuming, sure to dry up and fail recipe, but I found this one in an old Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook, and it’s fool-proof. In fact, I have shared it with heaps of friends who were expecting company and complained that they couldn’t cook, and they all came back singing my praises as if I had made it up myself.
Sticky Date Pudding
200g dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2/3 cup caster sugar (fine white sugar, or just use normal white sugar, I don’t think it really matters)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Brush a 20cm square cake tin with oil or melted butter (I use a round spring-form cake tin). Line base with baking paper.
2. Combine the dates and water in a small pan. Bring to the boil; remove from heat. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda; set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Using electric beaters (or muscle power), beat butter and sugar in a small bowl until light and creamy. Add eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the essence; beat until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.
4. Using a metal spoon, fold in flour and dates with the liquid and stir until just combined – do not ~ overbeat. Pour into tin; bake 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and cutting.
5. To make sauce: Combine sugar, cream and butter in a small pan; stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
6. Serve pudding smothered in sauce with vanilla ice-cream on the side.
P.S: I like to place a tray of water in the bottom of my oven. It’s supposed to prevent your cakes from drying and cracking.
Original Source: An old Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook