Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

When my sister and I were younger we loved nothing more than “sticky tape pudding” on a cold winter’s night. Not much has changed, but (to our great relief) we now know that the secret ingredient to our favourite pudding is not sticky tape. This dessert is perfect served warm out of the oven, swimming in a pool of butterscotch sauce, with a good helping of vanilla ice-cream.

P.S. This butterscotch sauce is liquid gold. I sometimes make it just to go on ice-cream for the ultimate sundae & it never lasts long in our household!

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Ingredients (serves 6-8)
Pudding
1 ½ cups chopped dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
60g butter
¾ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self raising flour, sifted

Butterscotch Sauce
125g butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup golden syrup
300ml thickened cream

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Method
Grease and line a 20cm round cake pan with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180°C (160 fan-forced).

Combine dates and water in a small saucepan, bring to boil, remove from heat & then add bicarb soda and stand for 5 mins.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; combine well. Fold in flour alternately with date mixture into the egg mix and gently stir until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan.

Make sauce by heating butter in small saucepan, adding the sugar and syrup (handy hint: spray your ¼ cup with a bit of cooking oil before adding the golden syrup and it will come out much more easily!) and stirring over the heat (without boiling) until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat & stir in cream.

Pour ¼ cup of sauce over the pudding and return to the oven for a further 5 mins (with foil over the top so it doesn’t darken too much).

Cut into desired size pieces and serve with lots of sauce and vanilla ice-cream.

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Recipe from Mum (originally adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly)

Gingerbread House

Every Christmas I construct a gingerbread house for the holiday season. They look so cute, taste delicious, can be decorated however you like and everyone is always so impressed when they find out you made it from scratch. The baking itself is very simple with this recipe, but the construction work is a little more difficult so I would definitely advise that you have an extra pair of hands to help stabilise it during the early stages.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

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Ingredients
Gingerbread :
90g butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup honey
2 tspns finely grated lemon rind
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 cups flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 tspn bicarb soda
2 tspns ground ginger
1 ½ tspns ground cinnamon
1 tspn ground  cloves
½ tspn ground nutmeg
1 tspn mixed spice
Assorted lollies (to decorate)

Royal Icing
2 egg whites
4 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
½ tspn lemon juice

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Method
Combine butter, sugar & honey in a medium pan; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cool for 10mins. Transfer mixture to large bowl; stir in rind, eggs & sifted dry ingredients. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead gently until no longer sticky & refrigerate, covered for 1 hour.

Cut paper patterns for gingerbread house: one rectangle 20cm by 15cm for the roof panels, a rectangle 15cm by 10cm for the 2 sides & one rectangle 16cm wide by 19cm high for the front/back. Then from this final rectangle, mark 10cm high & draw a line across. Then rule from the middle of the top of the rectangle, down to edges of the 10cm rectangle part (these diagonal lines should be approximately 12cm long). Cut out shapes.

Preheat oven to 160°C fan-forced. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface until 1cm thick. Cut out shapes carefully around the patterns, using a serrated knife. Place shapes on lined baking trays and bake for 15mins or until firm & golden brown. Stand gingerbread on trays for 5mins and then transfer onto wire racks to cool completely.

To make the royal icing, beat egg whites in a small bowl with electric mixer until just frothy; gradually beat in enough sifted icing sugar for mixture to form very stiff peaks then stir in lemon juice. Keep the surface of the icing covered with a damp tea-towel to prevent it from drying out.

Using a cake board as the base and a helper to hold the pieces in place, pipe a thick line of icing on the bottom of the two side pieces and the front/back pieces. Hold in place until icing has hardened and it stands without assistance. Pipe icing between sides and front/back pieces both inside and out to strengthen. Leave for 10-15mins.

Pipe icing onto the tops of the sides and front/back pieces. Hold on roof pieces and pipe between them (hold them in place for at least 10mins). Add more icing around the edges of the roof panels to look like snow/icicles and decorate as desired.

Enjoy!

ImageBased on the ‘Gingerbread House’ recipe in Australian Women’s Weekly ‘The Christmas Book’