Growing up, sticky toffee pudding was strangely one of the only things we (my mum) tended to buy rather than make. Not just from any old shop, mind; from the then very small village shop in Cartmel, which is now very famous for its sticky toffee pudding. I'd encourage my parents to drive us all out there "for a walk" or "for a look round the village"- but I think we all knew we were really there for the pudding.
Nowadays, of course, I don't go to Cartmel for my pudding, and I do shudder a bit when I think about what goes into making it the non-vegan way. Regardless, sticky toffee pudding is still one of my all-time favourites, and I'd be hard-pushed to think of something better to eat on a cold January night (or OK, any night).
This recipe can make one large pudding or a few small ones. I tend to just make one big one (because there's nothing quite like retrieving a big, bubbling pudding from the oven), but for certain occasions smaller versions are nice too. Almost any ovenproof tin or dish will do for baking in, although I particularly like ceramic and pyrex; just make sure there's enough room to let your pudding rise, and to accommodate all that luscious toffee sauce.
STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING
Makes: one large pudding, or 6-7 smaller ones
Preparation time: 25 hours (1 hour active)
For the pudding itself...
230g medjool dates (stoned weight), finely chopped (hadwari dates will also do)
180ml boiling water
1 tsp good-quality vanilla extract
185ml soy milk
1 tbsp golden syrup
3 tbsp black treacle
85g vegan butter, plus a little extra for greasing the pudding dish
110g demerara sugar
30g muscovado sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
For the sauce...
*If you want a lot of toffee sauce, double this quantity and reserve half for pouring on top of your pudding once it's dished up.*
180g demerara sugar (I sometimes use muscovado instead)
60g vegan butter
250ml non-sweet vegan cream
2 tbsp black treacle
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/4 tsp ground sea salt
1./ Add the chopped dates to a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave to soak for about 40 minutes. Once they're nice and soft, blitz them to a fine paste in a food processor (or by hand), adding the vanilla extract halfway through.
2./ Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius (about 160 for a fan oven). Lightly grease the insides of your pudding dish or tins (whatever you're using), and set aside.
3./ Add the butter, sugars, golden syrup, and treacle to a medium-sized saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir occasionally, till the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes, before stirring in the date and vanilla mixture.
4./ Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl, and combine well. Make a well in the centre and pour into this the wet ingredients, stirring as you do. Make sure everything is well combined, but don't over-mix. Once you have a nice, smooth mixture, pour it into your greased dish (or dishes).
5./ Place the pudding immediately into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or till risen and golden-brown.
6./ In the meantime, make the toffee sauce. Add the demerara sugar, salt, butter, treacle, and golden syrup to a small saucepan, along with half of the vegan cream. Place over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Keep over the heat for another 5-6 minutes, or till nice and brown and toffee-y. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remainder of the cream.
7./ When the pudding is baked, pour the toffee sauce over the top of it, making sure to get some down the sides of the pudding too (you might need to lift it up a bit to make this happen). Leave the pudding sitting in its sauce for one day; it will be worth the wait! Just cover it loosely with tin foil and keep it in a cool, dry place.
8./ When you're ready to serve it, simply put the covered pudding back in the oven at 175 degrees Celsius, till it's heated through and the toffee sauce is bubbling. Serve hot with vegan cream or ice cream.