Magazine article Sunset

The Pudding Is the Proof

Magazine article Sunset

The Pudding Is the Proof

Article excerpt

Dates are the secret ingredient in a very popular, very gooey, very easy English dessert, aptly named sticky pudding. I say secret because the pureed dates are so well integrated in the tender cake-the base of the pudding-- that you can't tell the fruit is there. The buttery caramel sauce makes the dish addictive.

Sticky Pudding

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/4 hours

NOTES: If making sticky pudding up to 2 days ahead, tip sauced pudding from pan onto a microwave-safe serving plate, cover with a large inverted bowl, and chill. To serve, uncover and heat in a microwave oven on full power (100%) for about 5 minutes.

MAKES: 10 servings

3/4 pound pitted dates

About 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 large eggs

Sticky sauce (recipe follows)

Creme fraiche or sour cream

1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine dates and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir often until most of the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes; watch carefully as liquid reduces to avoid scorching. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

2. Butter and flour a 9-inch square pan. In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a food processor, whirl cooked dates until smooth. Add 1/2 cup butter, sugar, eggs, and flour mixture; whirl until well blended. Scrape batter into pan and spread level.

4. Bake in a 325 deg oven until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center and edges begin to pull from pan sides, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan at least 5 minutes. Invert onto a rack. Cut warm or cool cake in half horizontally.

5. Rinse and dry baking pan. Pour about 1/2 cup hot sticky sauce into pan. Lay cake bottom, cut side up, in pan. Pour about 2 cups hot sticky sauce evenly over cake. …

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