For all the romance of the rains, there is also the practical side of everyday life in the monsoons. There are the traffic snarls, the breakdown of public transport, the smelly, damp clothes, the overflowing drains and lest we forget, the groaning and moaning of everyone around of how they can't take any more rain. And then just to prove a point, the rain gods decide to go all out over the weekend, complete with lashing rain and howling winds.
You know it is completely futile to even think of stepping outside. So, you either curl up with a good book, see a movie that you've already seen before, write a blog post on how much you love the rains or simply, make yourself a hot drink and stare out at the insanity of the weather gods!!
And then you make your way to the kitchen and decide to make yourself a hot pudding that will warm you up, in sharp contrast to the wet, damp weather that has started dampening your mood too. Knowing me, it should have been chocolate but I had a packet of fresh dates lying around. With Ramzan going on, the stores are filled with dates from the Middle East. So, what better time to put them to use and make some warm, sticky toffee pudding.
Sticky Toffee Pudding is a modern British classic that consists of a moist, date cake that is served with a toffee sauce and vanilla ice-cream or custard. For the recipe, I turn to another modern British classic, Nigel Slater. Yes, he's becoming a favourite out here!!
Like many British desserts, this dessert comes together very easily. The instructions are straightforward for the pudding and the toffee sauce.
So, what's the verdict?? The date pudding is delightful. It is moist, not too sweet and surprisingly light. The little bits of date that you encounter as you make your way through the dessert is what makes it special.
I wasn't a fan of the toffee sauce and found it cloyingly sweet. I'd recommend it only for the sugar fanatics. Come to think of it, I could have added some coffee to the sauce, that would have paired well with the dates and taken the sweet edge off the sauce. Next time!!
If you ask me, have the date pudding as a tea-time treat, without any added frills. It is lovely, just as it is, straight from the oven, warm and moist. A perfect accompaniment while you watch the rains, by the window with a warm cuppa!!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Minimally adapted from Nigel Slater's recipe. Serves 3
For the pudding
For the pudding
- 75 gms dates, stones removed, chopped
- 125 ml hot water
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 75 gms flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the toffee sauce
- 50 gms butter
- 100 gms brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 60 mls double cream
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease the ramekins.
- Mix the dates, hot water and soda bi-carb in a bowl and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together and keep aside.
- In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add the egg and make sure it is well mixed in.
- Stirring the mixture, gradually add the flour mixture and then the date mixture.
- Pour the mixture into individual ramekins/moulds until 2/3rd full.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the brown sugar, the vanilla extract and cream and stir well. Simmer for five minutes until it coats the back of a spoon.
- To serve, un-mould the pudding from its moulds onto a plate, drizzle some toffee sauce and serve with some vanilla ice-cream.