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September 16, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Sweet Scoop

Puddings really are a glorious thing. In winter, they’re up there with hot water bottles, open fires, mulled wine and blankets (and let’s be honest, in Wellington it’s still winter, whatever MetService or the calendar might try to tell us). In summertime, they’re just a ball of sweetness and syrupiness, and what isn’t great about that?

You have to be careful with puddings, however, because unlike a chocolate- or cream-based dessert, the pudding concept isn’t inherently appealing. A giant lump of flour? With a few raisins in it? Frankly, it doesn’t have me lying on the floor salivating with delight.

This does, though. It’s a good thing I’m writing this on a computer, so you can’t see all the drool stains. The pudding itself is moist and very sweet, packed with dates. But the sauce is even better. Cream, brandy, butter and brown sugar, boiled together into caramelly alcoholly amazingness. Spell check tells me none of those are words, but you know what I mean.

It’s also far easier than most puddings. The pudding base is essentially a low cake, and so doesn’t require any water-bath baking or, worst of all, boiling in a bag for three hours like traditional puddings. Anything that requires a concentration span that means you have to not-boil-something dry for several hours is very much beyond me. This bakes in half an hour, then you can eat it.

Serve this warm, in a pool of its sauce. If you wanted to be super-fancy, you could bake it in individual ramekins (adjusting the cooking time down). As with all sticky date puddings, this is extremely sweet (don’t say you weren’t warned!), so serving in small slices with vanilla ice cream or cream on the side is highly recommended. Lastly, I’m sure you all have spectacular romantic skills, and don’t need any food-related assistance in your pants-related endeavours, but ‘sticky date pudding’ does sound made for wooing. Just saying.

 

Sticky Date Pudding

For the cake:

– 1 cup dates

– 1 cup water

– 60 g butter

– ½ cup brown sugar, heaped

– 1 egg

– few drops of almond essence (optional)

– 1 cup white flour

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180°. Roughly chop the dates. Place in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, beat/cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg, essence, flour and baking powder. Lastly, add the dates and their cooking water, and beat until smooth. Pour into a greased oven dish, and bake until golden brown and cooked (about 30–35 minutes, but will change depending on dish size and shape).

For the sauce:

– 50 g butter

– ⅓–½ cup brown sugar

– ½ cup cream

– 1 tablespoon brandy (or to taste)

Bring to the boil together in a pot, then boil for another few minutes. Pour over each pudding portion.

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