Winter has come early this year, with sub-zero temperatures here and snow in many other parts of the country. It's very rare for this to happen before late December, or even January. Here is one of the joys of winter - not feeling guilty about the occasional hot, calorific pudding! Sticky toffee pudding could even make you feel almost virtuous, as puréed dates replace some of the fat in the pudding itself. If you are restrained with the toffee sauce and cream (HA HA!) then it's not so bad. ;)
The original of this recipe made seven individual puddings, but I bake it in one 9" square dish and get at least 9 servings from it - which brings me to the other great feature of this pudding - it reheats beautifully, either in the oven or as individual portions in the microwave. This recipe was once online, on the GoodFood site, under the name The Ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding, and I think it is published in The Ultimate Recipe Book from GoodFood. I've made a couple of small changes in both the method and ingredients, but want to acknowledge the original.
225g stoneless chopped dried dates
140g light muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons black treacle
100ml semi-skimmed milk
For the Toffee Sauce:
175g light muscovado sugar
Beat the butter, sugar, black treacle and vanilla extract together. Add the eggs in three portions, together with a teaspoon of flour with each portion, and beat until well mixed. Fold in the rest of the flour alternately with the milk, then stir in the date purée. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and firm (a probe should come out clean).