Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sticky fingers . . .

Picture perfect sticky date pudding

Yes, I'm still obsessed with Masterchef. Have found myself rushing home from work to a) turn off the slow cooker (an ah-mazing aroma hit me this arvo when I walked through the front door - beef and red wine, yum!) and b) get settled in my jarmies before 7pm. I've had lots of things on after work lately, so have had to catch up on recipes via the Masterchef website. And it's fabulous!

Mum is hosting a Jingle Bells in June dinner party at her place this weekend (thank goodness there's no Boxing Day cricket on the next day, so Dad has no excuse not to help clean up!) and she was searching for an easy, warming winter dessert. Think classy affair - not something with red and blue tinsel and some tacky mistletoe by the front door! We're talking ivory crockery with gold edging and crystal champagne glasses. So ice cream sundaes are out!

We've all attempted sticky dates before, but this one takes decadence to a new level. OMG. Thank you Masterchef! Best caramel sauce I've EVER had - and even better the next day when you're scooping it out of the pan with your fingers. And yes, invest in the dariole moulds - we experimented with muffin tins and they just didn't have the same impact. Too dense or something.

180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1¼ cups (310ml) water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
60g butter, softened chopped
2 eggs
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour

Almond praline
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

Butterscotch sauce
50g butter
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Makes 8

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced). Lightly grease eight (½ cup capacity) metal dariole moulds.
  2. Place dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat. Add bicarbonate of soda, stir until dates start to break down, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
  3. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand beater, gradually add eggs one at a time, beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add date mixture, stir to combine. Carefully fold through sifted flour, divide mixture evenly between the eight moulds, until 2/3 full.
  5. Place moulds in a baking tray, carefully pour water in tray until it comes up 1/3 of the side of the moulds. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden and skewer comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, for the almond praline, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Scatter almonds onto a baking paper-lined oven tray, pour over caramel and cool until set. Break praline into pieces.
  7. For the butterscotch sauce, combine butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
  8. To serve, invert the hot pudding onto a serving plate, top with butterscotch sauce and shards of praline.

And big sigh of relief for all those time-poor hostesses with the mostest out there - these freeze a treat xo

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