Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding

Aren't sweet indulgences one of life's nicer moments? Like savouring a warm Sticky Date Pudding with freshly-made Butterscotch Sauce, accompanied by a generous scoop of homemade Vanilla Bean Ice-cream?

Sticky Date Pudding. Never really fancied it because all the (bad) renditions I have ever tried tasted nothing of "sticky", "date" or "pudding". Instead, they have always been "dry", "bland" and "cake".

Then, some 5 months ago, I finally sampled a good Sticky Date Pudding. That was at Boomarang, with Brad. I remember it was the one thing we were most eager to try out after reading Catherine's rave review. And we were not let down - the pudding was sticky and moist, with a slight gelatinous texture. I think that last trait is the hallmark of a good Sticky Date Pudding - it shouldn't crumble like a cake.

Anyway, after that lunch, I promised myself I would try to make it at home. I even bought my dates way before the recent explosion of dates on our supermarket scene (due to Ramadan). But I kept putting it off time and again, thanks to the many other tantalising dishes I saw online. Distractions, they are. Thank goodness dates keep very well in the fridge!

And then, lately, I saw two versions - at Fel's and at Evan's. They both looked incredibly, impossibly good! Needless to say, I had pudding envy (sorry Freud!). And you know how food blogs are, they are contagious. One look and I got all fired up and inspired, and I dragged my sorry butt and got down to work.

(from Exclusively Food - please visit their blog for excellent step-by-step pics)

For the Sticky Date Pudding
- 270g (1 1/2 cups) deseeded dried dates (I used Mazafati dates)
- 312ml (1 1/4 cups) water
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 60g (1/4 cup) butter, roughly chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
- 188g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour
- 150g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar (I reduced to 100g)

Not the most pleasant-looking batter, I know. Haha!

1. Place dates and water in a small saucepan over high heat. When the mixture starts to boil, add bicarbonate of soda and 60g butter, and remove from the heat. Stir and then set aside for 25 minutes (the butter will melt during this time).

2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced). If you are not using a fan-forced oven, adjust the oven rack to the lower half of the oven so the top of the pudding will be in the centre of the oven.

3. Grease a 20cm diameter (top inside measurement) round springform pan and line the base and side with baking paper.
Note: I decided to use muffin tins instead. Too lazy to line a cake tin.

4. Place cooled date mixture in a food processor. Pulse mixture a few times to form a chunky paste.
Note: I used my potato masher instead. Too lazy to take out my food processor! Just mash directly in the saucepan.

5. Add eggs and vanilla to date mixture and pulse a couple of times until just combined.
Note: Just whisk directly in the saucepan. Oh boy, I am pure genius!

6. Stir flour and 150g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Use the back of the spoon to break up any lumps of brown sugar. Add date mixture to the flour mixture and gently fold the ingredients together until just combined.

7. Pour batter into prepared pan. If, when baking, the pudding starts to overbrown, loosely cover it with greaseproof paper.

8. Bake the pudding for about 50-60 minutes (about 20-30 minutes if baking in muffin tins), or until it springs back when lightly pressed in the centre. A thin-bladed knife or wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the pudding should come out without any batter attached.

I interrupt my son's eating to show you a peek of how moist and sticky the inside looks.

For the Butterscotch Sauce
(adapted from Australian GoodFood Magazine, July 2010, and seen at muffinsareuglycupcakes and Evan's Kitchen Ramblings)

Make the sauce when the pudding is baking.
- 185ml whipping cream
- 165g firmly packed brown sugar
- 150g butter, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt

1. Melt all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens. Make sure the sugar does not burn.

2. Leave to cool slightly.

* I believe this step makes the pudding sticky:
When the pudding has finished baking, leave it in the pan and allow it to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Using a skewer, pierce several deep holes in the pudding. Pour about 125ml (1/2 cup) of the hot butterscotch sauce over the pudding. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
* Note: As I used muffin tins, I removed each individual pudding after they had cooled down a little, but still warm to touch (about 15 minutes after baking). I then pricked them with a toothpick before spooning warm butterscotch sauce over. This helped the sauce penetrate into the pudding, making them extra moist and sticky. Make sure you place your pudding on a cooling rack over a tray, to catch the excess butterscotch sauce that will drip and make a mess.

Serve pudding with hot butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream. I made my own vanilla bean ice-cream ... which I might blog about another day, if I have the time.

Store leftover pudding and sauce in the refrigerator or freezer (freeze the sauce separately). Suitable to reheat.

Ho ho ho! My first (and laughable) attempt at making an ice-cream quenelle. :(

As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and my pudding ain't shabby at all! ;) It was sticky, moist and dotted with delicious bits of dates. I wish it was slightly "chewier" though, but what the heck, I can actually make decent Sticky Date Pudding from scratch, so it's a small compromise!


  1. lovely, absolutely lovely!!! yea this is a good recipe right? i like it so much :D your rendition is really nice, i like it that u bake them in individual portions just like molten lava cakes.

    i practiced alot on the quenelle, i guess different techniques work for different ppl. great job on yr 1st attempt, its definitely more elegant compared to the 'blob' kind using ice cream scoop ;)

  2. Oh you made a sticky date pud too!!! It looks delish! And very similar to my recipe also. I've made ones that were too cakey before, so this recipe is a winner! And been using it for years ever since :)

  3. bossacafez: Thank YOU for the inspiration, Evan! Your recipe is almost exactly similar to mine, 'cept that mine calls for the extra step of poking holes and drenching the pudding before serving. It is a good recipe, I agree! But I still want to track the chef of Boomarang to get his recipe - which was handed down by his granny. I must practise with the quenelle. Aiyoh ... made a mess! ;P

    honeyandsoy: Thanks, Honey! I am hopping over to your blog now.

  4. haha you'll be able to get the recipe from the chef of boomarang? :p oh actually i didn't know that poking holes on the pudding and drenching it with sauce will make it sticky, how did u know abt it? u read it somewhere?

    p/s : i really like honeyandsoy's rendition, she used a brandy cream. i think it would be fantastic!

  5. Great minds do think alike!! I made sticky date pudding too :) I like how you made them in muffin trays :)

  6. the pud looks good! love the sticky sauce!

  7. This looks so tasty, especially the shot of you pouring the sauce over.

  8. This is possibly going to be the first post-Ramadan bake I'm going to attempt, considering we eat dates everyday for breaking fast, and I'm pretty sure we're gonna have some leftover dates!

  9. With the abundant supply of dates in the market now, I guess there'll be lots of sticky dates pudding eh.. hehe It looks good, I'll try this recipe, and the steamed version (when I eventually get my head around it.. haha )

  10. Love the last photo of the sticky, sweet sauce drenching those little cakes. Finger-licking good if there ever was such a thing. ;)

  11. looks great! next time try adding whiskey into the sauce. i've tried it and it is devilish!

  12. Great looking Sticky Date Pudding!

    I'm perfecting mine still.. attempt no.3 :P

  13. OMG, these puddings look delectable! I need to make them for sure...yum! :)

  14. I'm a HUGE fan of dates and I know I would love this! The sauce would make so moreish!

  15. I hated this desert too when I first try it, and now I find it delicious--when I get a good one. Thanks for sharing this recipe daaaaaahling. Its going into my bookmarks.
    *kisses* HH

  16. yeah i know!!! Sticky date puding is sooooooooo goooood! The best I have tried is at an old (now closed) restaurant here in Melbourne - sticky date pudding with armagnac ice-cream. Maybe I need to make it myself!

  17. of my too favourites. I was first introduced to this cake when I first landed in Scotland....fell in love with it at first bite! :D It's expensive to eat this at restaurants. You can make a lot of money here with that tray :D

  18. My husband would love this...!! He adores dates, I myself prefer the ice cream ;).

  19. hi,these look delish! how many muffin sized pudding does this recipe render?

  20. I never try this before, sound so tempting

  21. I never try this before too! Looks good with that sauce pouring on top.

  22. Belli ed originale questi dolci, ottima come sempre la presentazione, complimenti. Un abbraccio Daniela.

  23. I am currently residing in Sydney and this is my absolute favourite dessert to eat and bake! :)

  24. Oh looks so nice! I found a recipe somewhere for a really sticky date pudding...I must try it out too. Now where did I put that recipe...

  25. This sticky pud is such an indulgence (forget about the calories).. I promise you I need to make this! yum!!

  26. The last picture is to die for! Sticky and dates... you got me there :)

  27. those do look delightful. I can feel the calories going straight on my hips from just looking at it !

    I must say - I'm in complete envy of your oven. Mine doesn't have a light in ! I hate having to open the door if I want a peak at what's going on...

  28. Hi Ju

    Beautiful photos. Thought I would let you know the link you have provided to your recipe source for the sticky date pudding isn't working.

  29. YUMMY!! I luuuurve sticky date pudding. The recipe you used has the exact same ingredients as mine except for the proportions. Not a pretty sight uncooked but delicious and beautiful when its glistening with the sauce when its done!

    And like someone who commented previously, I also poke holes into the pudding (which I bake in a ceramic dish)and drench it with an embarrassing amount of sauce! I serve mine drizzled with cream (not whipped) and of course the ice cream. Best eaten warm, if not I zap mine in the microwave before serving. Although its usually gone by the end of the dinner party here!

    mmm time to make another batch, I spy a half packet of dates in my pantry!

  30. great attempt with the quenelle!
    i havent even THOUGHT of trying.
    haha the recipe is not bad huh!
    when you're planning to use that half a packet,
    let me know, i;ll fly over! :P

  31. I don't think I have tried this pudding...can you believe it? :O

  32. Waw!! My mom also makes a great sticky dates pudding but I will showing her yours!!

    This combo of great flavours looks pretty & that butter scotch sauce is divine,..really & awesome too!

  33. Looks mouth-watering! Thanks for the inspiration Ju! Looks really good with the butterscotch sauce!
    Just a ques Ju, do i need to grease & line if using muffins tray?

  34. Looks moist and yummy! I don't think I have eaten this before.

  35. fav! sticky date pudding, sticky toffee pudding...I've never had dry ones though, they are always so moist and sinfully sweet!

  36. Your sticky date pudding looks so fabulous, moist and soft with hot butterscotch sauce over it. It's a torture to view your beautiful pics, but can't eat any, lol.

  37. Love that last shot of the butterscotch being poured over the cake, looks so good!

  38. mmm looks really moist and delicious... yes like christine said, a torture for us who can't eat it :p

  39. i love dates and can not believe i've never had sticky date pudding!! i've obviously been missing out!

  40. this looks incredible. can i eat the butterscotch sauce right from the bowl? please?

  41. So pretty!! I love the shot with the dripping butterscotch. And you have a steam feature in your oven, you lucky thing!!

  42. Ahhh this looks lusciously good! I can just imagine how nice it would be to have it for afternoon tea..YUMS!

  43. This looks so lovely! I would have never thought to eat date pudding, but you make it looks so good! I want one right now!

  44. that looks fantastic i LUV sticky date pudding :O) thanks for sharing xx

  45. i had a wonderful sticky date pudding back in England about 6 months ago and haven't mnaged to re-create it yet... it is a self-saucing pudding, which by default means it's going to be gooey and nice - i will certainly try it as soon as i have a kitchen and have converted the restaurant-cooking quantities to home-cooking ones ;-)

  46. Hiya,

    I want to make this but do i have to use vanilla extract? coz its got alcohol in it.


  47. hi there! i made this last nite & use your recipe.. thanks a heap! its a winner!! and you've made it easier for me too (by whisking & mashing in the pans :p) thanks again!

  48. This is wonderful! A very nice recipe that I can use every week for the family gathering.

  49. hi ju, jus wanna check with you, when i just baked it, it rose till it looked like a muffin!!! :( what do you think could have gone wrong? :( I used a muffin tray like you too... and had 6 small ones!

    1. Oh dear! Perhaps it could be because my muffin trays are larger? Mine are for bigger muffins. That's the only explanation I can think of.

  50. can I substitute bi carbonate of soda for baking powder?