Rennie have invited me to create a dish that spoke to me about a particular decade as part of their #RennieHappyEating campaign.
First off, for my decade I chose the 1990s, as that was a formative era for me. For me, 90s cooking was totally dominated by Delia Smith. She is the absolute Godmother of home cooking for British people I think. In the 90s, during my teens, I learned how to cook – and it was Delia who was my guide. My mum, who is a huge Delia devotee, had her complete collections, part 1 and 2, both battered tomes that she still uses today. When I left home I bought Adam The Complete Cookery Collection all in one – and I still rate it as our most used cookery book. This would make a perfect present for someone this Christmas by the way, it never dates.
So when it came to choosing a dish that represented the 90s, it was hard to chose. Sweet and sour pork was a brief consideration… But it being Christmas, I chose Sticky Toffee Pudding, as it is a wonderful get together pudding – or even a great alternative to Christmas pudding if your family aren’t fans.
Although it was apparently invented in the 1970s I think I’m correct in saying it became a restaurant classic and household favourite in the 90s. It’s richness totally evokes the hedonistic period in which it became famous. You don’t attempt to make STP healthy; it’s just to be enjoyed. Just eat it and go for a run tomorrow! Bizarrely, I remember my Dad (my Dad, who never ever cooks) and me making Delia’s Little Sticky Toffee Puddings with Pecan Toffee Sauce from her Christmas book – another absolute classic that much of my Christmas cookery originates from.
No one can resist Sticky Toffee Pudding on a menu, however I think people consider it a tricky pudding to make at home. But it’s really not. And you needn’t do it in a pudding bowl – it doesn’t need steaming, as some people think. I simply make one large one in a square brownie / flapjack tin and cut portions up accordingly, which is what most restaurants and pubs do too. My recipe is a mash up of several I have used before, with tweaks here and there.
As part of this post, I’d like to invite you to share your own recipe that reflects a particular time in your life, please use the hashtag #RennieHappyEating when you share it on Twitter. The best one will win a £200 Waitrose voucher! Here’s a link to more competition info that is co hosted by the fab Olive magazine.
Remember too, that heartburn needn’t stop you enjoying yourself at Christmas. It’s a time for eating, for drinking, for enjoying – for happy eating! Go forth and feast!
Makes:16 small or 9 large portions
Takes: 45 minutes approx
- 200g Medjool dates, chopped finely if not using processor, roughly if you are (see below)
- 170g boiling water
- 90g butter, make sure it’s soft
- 100g light demerara sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon black treacle
- Splash milk (about 100ml)
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch salt
Toffee sauce (if you like a lot of sauce, I advise making double these amounts):
- 100g light demerara sugar
- 50g butter
- About 200ml double cream
- pinch salt
- Cream, creme fraiche or ice cream
- Preheat oven to 190C.
- Grease and flour a square 23cm x 23cm tin (or as long as it’s roughly similar proportions it’ll be fine).
- Now make the date puree which is key to the dish. If you have a small food processor you can whizz your date puree, but you can also just chop them finely with a knife, either is fine. First, stone them, then chop – finely or roughly, and soak them in boiling water for about 15 mins.
- Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk. You can do this by hand but it’ll just be harder work. Add the eggs, one at a time. Now the vanilla and treacle.
- Add the flour, bicarb and salt. Milk too. Whisk again to make a thick batter. Finally whisk in the puree.
- Pour into the tin and bake for approx 25-30 minutes. Mine took about 27 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.
- Make the sauce: add the sugar, butter, and half the cream to a pan and over a medium heat whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Once it has, take off heat and add rest of cream plus small pinch of salt.
- Let the sponge cool in the tin. Then divide into 16 small portions by cutting into 4 x 4 (or 9 large ones, 3 x 3). Pour half the sauce over the portions. Serve then offer more sauce in a jug.
This is a sponsored post for Rennie. All links to the Rennie website are no follow as per Google guidelines. I was paid to write this post but all opinions and recipes are my own.