My daughter Lilly is getting very good at baking in the kitchen she already knows what ingredients are needed to make pancakes and Victoria sponges. Mum, Sue, is a big fan of eating the results, definitely more than she is of making them, but she really comes in to her own with the hit TV program The Great British Bake Off. She is a real fan and is glued to every episode taking on board all of the tips, usually passing them on to me! So in honour of the new season time for my first dessert, this recipe is a perennial favourite at home and in many of the restaurants that I have worked in. It is a little lighter than some of the all date recipes and I like the addition of a little spice, it is a moist, easy to make sponge, using the creaming method. This is the beating of butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, to incorporate lots of air bubbles before adding eggs and folding in flour. The sponge improves in flavour after a couple of days and goes well with a nice vanilla pod ice cream.
Sticky Date and Banana Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce serves 8 – 10
For the pudding
300 gr Unsalted Butter
360 gr Soft Brown Sugar
380 gr Plain Flour
25 gr Baking Powder
3 ripe Bananas, mashed
100 gr Dates, destoned and puréed
2 tablespoons Black Treacle
2 Vanilla Pods
½ tsp powdered Ginger
½ tsp ground Cinnamon
For the sauce
50 gr Unsalted Butter
125 gr light Muscovado Sugar
A small 170 gr tin of Evaporated Milk
6 inch deep side baking tray or 10 small dariole moulds
Soft butter and caster sugar to stop puddings sticking
Preheat your oven to 350 F / 180 C / Gas mark 4 . In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, sugar and treacle together until the mixture is light and creamy in texture. Slice open the vanilla pods and using a small sharp knife scrape out the seeds and add to the bowl. Keep the pods to make vanilla sugar. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together and beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Incorporate the egg a spoon at a time, beating into the creamed butter and sugar. If the mixture looks like splitting and curdling add a little flour. When all of the egg is beaten in fold in the flour using a metal spoon. Finally mix in the mashed banana and date purée.
Butter and sprinkle on caster sugar to coat the bottom and sides of the baking tray or moulds. Spoon in the mixture trying not to dribble on the sides of the tins, then gently tap the bottoms on to the work surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in the oven and cook for ten minutes minutes then turn down the heat to 300 F /150 C / Gas mark 2 and continue to bake for one hour and twenty minutes. Cover with buttered greaseproof paper if necessary to prevent burning. When a skewer can be inserted in the centre of the sponge and it comes out clean remove from the oven and leave to cool for ten minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.
Heat the butter in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, over a medium heat, until melted then add the sugar continuously stirring until it is totally dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the evaporated milk. Return to the heat and bring up to the boil to serve. The sauce can be made in advance and store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.