My family can never refuse a steamed sponge. This goes back to the first time I took them out to eat San Juan in London. My mother was expecting some kind of afternoon tea, I think, so when Rosy, one of the pastry chefs, sent us a huge sponge of steamed dates, it took her by surprise. My dad ordered a pint, my brother a Coke, and we all grabbed a spoon. To this day, it is a pudding that I am asked to make over and over again, accompanied by a jug of cold cream on the side. It also offers a popular alternative to Christmas pudding.
Steamed date pudding with caramel sauce
I used a 16cm x 16cm x 9cm pudding container to make a large dessert, but this recipe can be divided into three or four smaller individual puddings, or two medium ones, depending on what containers you have on hand. The mixture can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge overnight, and steamed the next day; or cooked and reheated in the microwave or steamed.
Homework 25 min
Cook 1h 30 min +
It serves 4
200g medjool dates
100 g unsalted butter, smoothed
160 g brown sugar
160g self-Flour with yeast
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon fine salt
For the toffee sauce
200ml double cream
70g brown sugar
30 g unsalted butter
1 pinch flaky salt (Optional)
Generously butter the pudding container and place in the refrigerator.
Put the dates in a pot with 400 ml of water and simmer until tender and soft, about 15 minutes. While simmering, make the dough, first beating the butter with the sugar, then adding the eggs and mixing well. Combine dry ingredients except baking soda, then add to wet mixture, stirring well to combine.
Blend the date mixture in a blender to form a smooth paste, add the baking soda and blend for 30 seconds to one more minute (use a standard size blender here, not a mini one, because the mixture will expand once it has been added bicarbonate). Let cool slightly, then add to batter. The final mixture should be quite loose.
Sprinkle the buttered pan with flour and pour the batter, leaving a gap of 4cm from the top if you make a large pudding (or divide the batter into two bowls, about 450g per container). Place a circle of baking paper directly on top of the dough and make an aluminum foil lid by taking a large rectangle of aluminum foil, folding it in half and then making a crease in the middle. Securely fold the aluminum foil around the top of the sink. (The crease will allow the pudding to expand in the oven, while the paper will prevent it from sticking to the foil.) Tie the foil to the basin with a piece of string.
Place the basin in a large, deep pot half filled with boiling water. Put the lid on the pan and simmer for an hour and 30 minutes if you make a large pudding, or 45 minutes to an hour for the little ones. Fill the pot with water if necessary. Insert a long wooden skewer directly through the top of the foil into the pudding – if it comes out clean, it’s done; if not, continue cooking.
Once cooked, carefully lift the hot pudding bowl from the pan, remove and discard the foil and paper, and run a knife around all edges of the bowl.
For the toffee sauce, put all the ingredients except the salt in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and add the salt, if using. The sauce is now ready to be poured over the hot pudding, but it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for three days.
Place a plate on top of the bowl and, holding the plate and bowl with oven mitts, turn it over to loosen the pudding. Serve with the spicy caramel sauce.
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