Here in Sydney as Autumn arrives and the nights are getting cooler, getting something warm in the belly is pretty important. So, here is a heart warming recipe that is also teeth rattlingly sweet. Anyways, if you’re like me and on the no sugar wagon at the moment- look away now.
I’ve said before how Annabel Lanbein’s Free Range Cook is one of the most used cookbooks in my (extensive) collection. The wicked toffee sauce comes from this one.
The sticky toffee pudding is from an earlier book The Best of Annabel Langbein- Great Food for Busy Lives, but there is another done with pear in Free Range Cook… maybe next time!
All mistakes are mine, all rights are hers…You can buy her books from her website.
What you need:
300ml boiling water
200g chopped dates (yes, you do need to take the pips out)
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
a few shakes of ground ginger
50g crystallised ginger (you can also add chopped walnuts or pecans etc)
What you do with it
- Preheat the oven to 180C & do the usual greasing/lining thing to a square pan.
- Pour the boiling water over the dates & baking soda and let them cool- do not drain. You need all of it.
- Beat the butter, sugar and golden syrup until creamy.
- Add the vanilla, eggs & date slush and mix well.
- Fold in the dry ingredients- which you’ve thoughtfully sifted together.
- That’s it! Slop it into the tin- it will be wet- and bake for about 30 mins.
- Do the usual clean skewer trick to check for readiness.
- Let it cool a little before cutting into squares and serving with the sauce and a scoop of ice cream or dollop of creme fraiche.
The Wicked Toffee Sauce.
I’m usually scared of toffee sauce, but this is relatively easy. I usually make just half of the recipe below…
Place ½ cup water in a saucepan with 2 cups of caster sugar & heat until it comes to a boil- just a medium heat will do it. Then leave it alone until it goes a golden caramel colour. This will take about 10 minutes, but don’t leave it alone- once caramel turns, it turns. And don’t be tempted to stir- if you do, you risk crystallising the sugar.
Remove from heat, add 2 cups of cream (best if this is at room temp), 2 tsp of vanilla extract and stir it till smooth. When you first pour the cream into to toffee, it will seize a little (or a lot). Ignore this and stir like crazy- it will work.
It makes a heap of sauce and the leftovers reheat well.