Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Proof is in the Pudding

Or as the true saying goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

While not wildly popular in the United States, I have come to LOVE Sticky Date Pudding, an Aussie favorite.  Pudding actually refers to something quite different in the US than most of the rest of the world.  In the UK and it's Commonwealth countries, pudding refers to a combination of flour and other ingredients, and may be sweet or savory.  The name is also used loosely for desserts in general.  In the United States, pudding typically referes to a a sweet milk-based dessert with a creamy consistency.  Very different.  I've come to find a lot of those things since living in Australia.

Anyhow, as of late, especially in these chilly months, Sticky Date Pudding is my dessert of choice.  I've ordered it, or some version of it, while we were out to eat a few times recently.  I knew this was one I had to learn how to make at home.  Maybe next I will try to conquer the Sticky Date Soufflé with crème anglaise that we tried the other night.  Phew, baby steps. 

I decided to consult Australia's latest obsession, Masterchef.  They had a great basic recipe for individual puddings served with almond praline and butterscotch sauce, yum.  I surfed around a bit and looked at a few more recipes.  Luckily, they all essentially used the same techniques - break down the dates, mix the wet ingredients, add the date mixture, fold in the flour, bake, and top with a caramel or butterscotch sauce.  Easy enough.  Using these basic steps, I came up with my own version.  I must say, the results were fantastic!  The cake was perfectly moist and relatively light.  As it absorbed the butterscotch sauce, it became very rich and sweet.  The quantity of Butterscotch Sauce is probably a bit too much for this recipe, but ensures that you have some leftover for drizzling over vanilla ice cream!  Do try this at home.

Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce


1/2 lb dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted

Butterscotch sauce:
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and line the base of a springform cake pan.

2. Bring dates and water to a boil in a saucepan.  Add baking soda and remove from heat.  Stir for a couple of minutes and set aside, stirring occasionally. 

3. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together until pale and creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
4. Stir through the date mixture.  Fold in flour until well combined.

5. Spoon into cake pan.  Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. For sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened and set aside.  Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.  

7. Serve drizzled with butterscotch sauce.   


  1. Oh I would LOVE this! My British great-grandmother made puddings with suet...noooooooooo nooooooooo nooooooooo...I just cannot do the suet thing! I do know what you mean about pudding meaning something different in other countries that here in the US though. Sticky, date filled steamed puddings are marvelous things though!

  2. Having a couple of friends over for dinner tonight and this was requested. Round 2 already I guess but I don't mind! Yeah, I don't know about suet...

  3. What a lovely dessert. The butterscotch looks fantastic. Beautiful photo.

  4. Hi there - I love sticky date pud too! I've been experiementing with different recipes lately - particularly the toffee sauce. I came up with something I call "salted toffee" which you can find on my blog. I'd love to know what you think! Everyone I've fed it to just loves it as it's extremely moreish - you first get the sweetness but then the salt hits your palate as you're chewing the pud. Trust me, it may sound strange but it works!

    Cheers, K_Bom

  5. @K_Bom - very interesting, I'd love to try that out!



Related Posts with Thumbnails