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Augustus Caesar’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

A little Italy in Britain can't be bad, right?

This is a British dessert invented in 1907… but I’ve Italy-ified it with corriander and pistachio accents. A little Italy in Britain can’t be bad. Serves 8.

Equipment: Baking sheet, 8 – 3inch ramekins greased with butter

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp coffee essence (just brew up a strong pot)
  • 1 Tbs ground corriander seed
  • 3/4 tsp soda
  • 3 oz butter, room temp
  • 5 oz caster (berry) sugar
  • 2 lg eggs, beaten
  • 6 oz flour (self raising or just add 1 1/4 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt)

Sauce:

  • 1 lemon zested
  • 6 oz brown sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 6 Tbs whip cream

Topping: 1 oz chopped pistachios, Whip Cream (unsweetened)

Begin by putting the chopped dates in a bowl and pouring 6 fl oz (175 ml) boiling water over them. Then add the vanilla extract, coffee essence, corriander, lemon rind and soda and leave on one side. Next, in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, beating (preferably with an electric hand whisk) until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy.

Now gradually add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

After that, carefully and lightly fold in the sifted flour using a metal spoon, and then you can fold in the date mixture (including the liquid). You’ll probably think at this stage that you’ve done something wrong, because the mixture will look very sloppy, but don’t worry: that is perfectly correct and the slackness of the mixture is what makes the puddings so light. Don’t overmix.

Now divide the mixture equally among the eight containers, place them on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. When they’re cooked, leave them to cool for 5 minutes, then, using a cloth to protect your hands, slide a small palette knife around each pudding and turn it out. Next, make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan and heating very gently until the sugar has melted and all the crystals have dissolved.

To serve the puddings: pre-heat the grill to its highest setting, and pour the sauce evenly over the puddings. Place the tin under the grill, so the tops of the puddings are about 5 inches (13 cm) from the heat and let them heat through for about 8 minutes. What will happen is the tops will become brown and slightly crunchy and the sauce will be hot and bubbling.

Serve with chilled whip cream and pistachios.

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