You can moan. Drink. Hide inside a duvet until spring and hope those sick days don’t add up.
You could also bake this. There are few things as suitable for Snowmageddon. It is also allowed any other time of year: I made four batches of these for Xmas dinner for 30.
from the Winter section of my food memoir:
This recipe comes with a directive: Invite a non-dessert type over (I know, I know, but sometimes they’re nice) and have them sit down with a serving of this English classic treat. Then slowly back away from the groans of pleasure. Or you could just send them to Dalvay-by-the-Sea, PEI where we were first introduced to this dessert. If ever there’s a place of pleasure defined, it’s that gorgeous seaside jewel. Whenever we’re there, we just toy with the waiter when presented with the dessert menu. There is nothing better on their menu than this dessert. And yes, I do suggest you get on a plane and go there. The giant fireplace in the lobby is calling your name right now.
Or head over the pond to that very green isle where Irish versions amp up the whiskey sauce, or so we discovered on a memorable family trip to Ireland in 2011. It’s a wonder we ever came home.
Sticky Date Pudding with Bourbon Toffee Sauce
What you need:
- 1¾ cups packed pitted dates (about 10 ounces)
- 2 cups water
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar*
- 3 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon good bourbon (or more if you like things boozy)
- Pinch of salt
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 375. F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 inch deep sides.
- Coarsely chop dates and simmer them, uncovered, in water in a heavy pot for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up. Let it stand for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile sift flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt together in a bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating only until combined after each.
- Add the cooled date/water mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined well.
- Pour pudding into baking pan and then place it into a larger baking pan. Add enough boiling water to larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the smaller pan.
- Bake in middle of the oven for 50-60** minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
- Remove smaller pan from water bath and cool pudding to warm on a rack.
- While cooling, make the sauce: Melt butter over moderate heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes until thickened slightly. Cool sauce to warm.
- Poke holes in the warm pudding with a toothpick and pour a few tablespoons of the sauce over to soak in. Wait a few minutes, then cut into squares. Serve with warm sauce and, if desired, vanilla ice cream.
* Although the sauce recipe as listed in my book mentions sugar, it is vital to use brown sugar for a lovely caramel-coloured sauce. Using regular sugar will still taste dreamy but brown sugar kicks it up a notch. Ditto the bourbon.
** Cooking time varies oven to oven, and there are worse ways to waste time than experimenting with this classic treat. Since it is a steamed pudding, expect a dense moist texture, not the crumb of usual cakes. Puddings are wetter than cakes. As long as a cake tester is clean, it’s probably cooked. If you cook it too long, don’t despair. It will still be moist and you can douse it with the sauce.