A delicious sweet dish, the classic with a twist. I am known for pies from my Delicieux time and also for the TV time I had, and be it not known I personally do not eat very many pies!
The husband owns this classical twist, he challenged me many years ago when he had a friend Andy the Chef, who worked from The Crooked Inn at Elgin (Highlands in Scotland), and who made a very good Sticky Toffee Pudding that I couldn’t beat it! In his eyes I did just that and then made him even happier when I put all the sweet dates, light airy sponge loveliness smothered in toffee sauce into a sweet aromatic nutmeg pie crust.
Makes 6 Pies
Prep time 25 mins
Cooking Time 30-40 mins
Equipment (remembering that the better planned and prepped your are the better you feel, your recipe and timings work, also means you get though the washing up faster!)
- Bowls a few required so you can set aside and get prepped
- Weigh scales – I use old manual ones, cheap electronic ones that i have had for years also do the trick
- Pestle and Mortar ( or good old rolling pin and tea towel!)
- Measuring spoons or use teaspoons, dessert spoons, your bog standard eating spoons
- Rolling pin ( or large bottle ….as long as you can roll out your pastry )
- Pie tins I use loose bottomed fluted pie tins as its a pretty edge ,( you don’t even need to do this as pie do the discs and you don’t need pie tins. you will have spare pastry , thats a bonus for making lots of other things we even made a Sticky Toffee Pudding Plait once with the excess yummy)
- Mixer or good elbow grease and a biggish bowl
- Greaseproof paper
- Swiss roll /Baking tin if making the disc option
For the pie crust
- 250g plain flour
- 200g butter unsalted cold cubed
- 30g icing sugar
- 100ml cold water
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp anise, ground
For the sticky toffee pudding
- 250g organic unsalted butter
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 100g dark brown sugar
- 50g castor sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste
- 2 eggs
- 275g organic self raising flour
- 2 tsp baking power
- 150g pitted dates
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- 500ml boiling water
For the date purée
- 125g pitted dates
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 250 ml boiling water
- 1 tsp icing sugar
For the sticky toffee pudding sauce
- 300g salted organic butter
- 5 tbsp golden syrup
- 500ml double cream
- 2 cardamom pods
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tbsp treacle ( this is optional my personal preference is its makes it a bit to heavy and i usually omit it, its part of the traditional method and one that if you like use or lose)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Mix together all the dry ingredients including the spices, then rub the butter into the flour with your finger tips until it resembles a fine breadcrumb texture. I find this truly therapeutic and making pastry was never a love of mine until i started making it regularly and now its an instant yen calm that comes over me when making it
3. Add ¾ of the water and start to mix everything together, adding more as you need it, until everything comes together into a smooth dough. Remember not to overwork dough, be light in touch and its better to mess with it less than more. I have at times tipped it out on clingflim and wrapped it into a ball without kneading, it works .
4. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for a minimum of 10 minutes to rest. The longer the better makes it easier to work with.
5. While the pastry is resting, make the date purée by soaking 125g of dates, the vanilla paste and rosemary in boiling water. Leave to stand until soft.
6. Next make the date pulp for the sponge mix by soaking 125g dates with 2 cardamom pods in boiling water.
7. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out until it is 2-3 mm thick. Using your pie tins as your guide roll out and cut out so they fit with overlap into each tin. Prick the bottom of the pies with a fork to stop them rising or lifting. Place circles of greaseproof paper into each pie tin, top up with baking beans, dried beans, rice whichever your using and pop in the oven for 10 mins, after that remove the baking beans and greaseproof and cook again until light brown probably about 4-5 mins.
If your not using tins use a pastry cutter, chef ring or bottom of a tin to cut out 8 large discs (about 8cm in diameter) and baked in the oven for 14 minutes at 180°C until turning light brown and not soggy.
8. While the purée and pulp are both soaking and the pastry is cooking, start to make the pudding sponge. in your bowl or mixer ,cream together the butter and sugar until pale , really let this beat through I let mine run for a good several minutes creates a super light fluffy sponge thats so moist with an electric mixer.
If you not doing the pie but the discs line a 20 x 35 cm swiss roll tin with baking paper, make the sponge as ( points 8-12 ) pour the pudding batter into the tin and cook for 30-40 minutes until its bounces back when you touch it , or use a cocktail stick, skewer to pop in and pull out clean
9. Add eggs to the mixture one by one, adding a spoonful of flour if the mix starts to curdle.
10. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the mix along with the vanilla paste.
11. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture slowly, using the mixer on a slow speed. Or if your without mixer just mix slowly and lightly with a wooden spoon
12. Remove the cardamom from the soaking dates and blend in a food processor or using a hand blender until you have a smooth pulp. Stir this into the cake mix using a metal spoon. Spoon the mixture into each blind baked pie until its a thumbnail from the top, it will rise too much if you fill to the top and overflow, ( you may like that look), its a little tidier to the eye if it just rises above the pie crust.
If your making the discs with the sponge topping . Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out from the centre cleanly.
13. While the sponge is cooking, make the toffee sauce by cracking the cardamom pods and mixing with the cinnamon. ( I also make this with Rosemary instead of the cardamon and its a beautiful toffee sauce which we have jars of in the fridge that goes on everything)
14. Place the sauce ingredients in a saucepan, bring up to the heat and allow to melt, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until dark in colour and the consistency of thick double cream.
15. Finish the date purée by blending the dates, vanilla and rosemary and water with the icing sugar until smooth.
16. Once the sponge is cooked and still warm, pour over half the sticky toffee sauce and allow to soak in.
If your doing the discs, Cut out 8 large discs of sponge (the same size as the pastry discs) using chef rings. Brush each pastry disc with the date puree and place on top of each sponge disc.
17. Serve warm with a little extra toffee sauce. Homemade ice-cream, or a vanilla chantilly cream or custard.
- Allowing it to be made as a disc or pie is your option try both and see which you prefer, the disc option is great for a dinner party
- You can change the spices in the sweet crust and add other ones of your choice , remembering it to compliment the sticky toffee date pudding so aromatic Moroccan sweet spices that work well with dates Ras El Hanout a blend of ground spices commonly include cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric
- Never change the dates they truly add the sweet sticky flavour i tried figs once and it just wasn’t the same
- Add a little alcohol to your pastry too, Vodka is a great compliment to pastry as its aids the gluten, although leaves no taste