Sticky date banoffee pudding
Banoffee I hate. I hate banoffee. Sticky date pudding I love. I love sticky date pudding.
Gizzi Erskine recipe commence! Diabetes, cooommmmeee to meeeeee.
I may have now officially overloaded on caramel/butterscotch/toffee sauce. Whatever you want to call it. Butter, burnt sugar and cream are now strictly off limits. So, er…I need some help with the cup of caramel sauce left over. And maybe my heart restarted. Not just from the gluttonous saturated fat intake, oh no. It’s Gizzi Erskine, you see. I picked up her book, Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic, at the bookstore, and fell in love (I still haven’t bought it though…yet). Sure, it’s not super original, but that’s not the point – the point is that it’s the sort of book that would be perfect for the beginner cook who wants to pick up the basics of real cooking and baking, and blow everyone away with minimal effort. There’s minimal pretension, maximum deliciousness. This pudding was a case in point.
Also, have you seen Gizzi? She’s like a cool older cousin who also happens to model for Guess in her spare time. Even if the negative Amazon book reviews don’t agree (there is some rather damning speculation about the sources of many of the positive reviews), I have this to pitch in: anyone who makes real cooking seem glamorous, fun and simple gets massive ups from me. I love the fact that she makes the daunting (like pastry) seem a cinch, possible to whip up in a moment’s notice – after all, a lot of cooking and baking seems a lot harder than it actually is. Also, proper metric measurements are used. Hurrah!
About this pudding though, specifically. A high five to Donal at The Good Mood Food Blog, who featured the recipe from her book. It really is quite memorable, what with the toffee sauce, and sticky, gooey, soft and rich cake. The addition of the banana actually does do wonders for the sticky date pudding, which can get a little boring after the first two bites. Next time I might whizz the dates after boiling them and before adding the baking soda, as they were still a bit chunky although not detrimentally so. Paired with vanilla ice cream, this becomes a dessert to leave plenty of room for. Though the sauce for this is not to be sniffed at, I personally prefer the caramel I made a few days ago. It’s a bit silkier and so much fun to make.
PS. Now that I have access to some digital scales, I LOVE recipes with measurements in grams. Makes everything so much more precise and easy to convert! Don’t worry though, I won’t have all future recipes like this, but for this one you want to get the proportions right so you get a properly moist cake.
Sticky date banoffee pudding, adapted from Gizzi Erskine
- 250g chopped dates
- 250ml hot black tea, made with 1 teabag
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 85g soft unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp good vanilla (if you don’t have the good stuff, leave it out)
- 175g (about 1 1/4c) plain flour, sieved (I used 1/4c stoneground wholemeal flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 3 bananas, roughly mashed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- vanilla ice cream, or mascarpone, to serve
- 100g brown sugar (light or dark)
- 100g unsalted butter
- 150ml cream
Preheat oven to 180C (355F). Butter a 23cm (9″) baking dish. I used an 8×8 brownie tin and loaf pan.
Place dates in a small pan and pour over hot tea. Boil for 3–4 minutes, until the dates have softened. Remove from heat, then stir in the baking soda. It will fizz up. Set aside.
In a medium large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs and vanilla, incorporating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, banana, mixed spice and the date mixture and pour into greased baking dish. Bake for 30–35 minutes, until a skewer or knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
While the pudding is cooking, make the sauce. Put the sugar, butter and cream into a small saucepan, place over a low heat and melt until the sugar has dissolved. Then turn the heat up to medium high and simmer several minutes (it should bubble vigorously) until the sauce is darkened (a caramel colour if using light brown sugar, brown if using dark brown sugar).
Serve the cake drizzled with a spoonful of sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or mascarpone. This is still incredibly good the next day, still soft and arguably more rich.