With only 20 minutes prep time needed, these tasty sticky date and fig puddings are a must-try. Topped with toffee sauce, they’ll go down a treat.
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Sticky date pudding is a classic for good reason. Unlike fresh fruit desserts, this one is made with dried fruit and other basic ingredients you probably have on hand in the pantry and fridge, so it’s easy to put together whenever you want to treat the family to a comforting dessert. Whether it’s steamed or baked, it has a soft, moist texture that’s so satisfying to sink a spoon into. The cooked pudding is great on its own, but adding a rich, sticky toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream takes it to the next level of deliciousness.
This dessert is said to have originated in Britain, where it is known as sticky toffee pudding, but it is also hugely popular in Australia and New Zealand. It’s a perfect cold weather dessert because when you eat it, you’ll feel like it’s warming you up from the inside out.
This version of sticky date pudding is made by steaming the batter in individual moulds in the slow cooker. This method is easy because you don’t have to turn on your oven or keep an eye on the stove – and once the puddings are in the slow cooker you can set and forget until it’s time to make the sauce.
To make individual sticky date puddings, you’ll need four 1 cup (250ml) dariole moulds, which are tall narrow moulds with sloping sides that are used to make individual puddings and desserts such as panna cotta. If you don’t have dariole moulds, use ramekins instead. Before you start, grease each mould or ramekin and line the base with a square of baking paper. This makes it easy to turn out the puddings.
The dried fruit in this recipe needs to be soaked in hot liquid to soften, then processed to make a puree, so make sure you have a heatproof bowl handy along with a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender or hand blender can do the job for you.
It’s best to use an electric mixer and mixing bowl to whip up the batter. This could be a stand mixer or a hand-held electric mixer. If you don’t have these, you can beat the mixture the old-fashioned way using a wooden spoon.
You’ll need more baking paper on hand along with foil and kitchen string. These help you create lids to seal the batter inside the moulds to keep water and steam out. It’s important to make a pleat in the centre of the paper and foil squares before you secure them to the moulds. That way there is room for the batter to expand during cooking. Have a skewer handy for testing the puddings to make sure they’re cooked in the centre.
You’ll still need to use your stovetop to make the toffee sauce but it doesn’t take long to make. Grab a small saucepan and you’re good to go.
Sticky date pudding has dates in it – surprise surprise – but this recipe also uses a smaller quantity of dried figs for a different flavour and texture. If you don’t have figs, add another 1/3 cup (65g) dates instead. Using dried fruit makes for easy prep, especially if you start with dates that are already pitted. It’s good to finely chop all the fruit before soaking so it’s easier to process into a puree, but if you’re short on time you can probably skip this step without affecting the result. Adding an Earl Grey tea bag with the boiling water infuses extra flavour and aroma into the puddings, but you can use plain water if you prefer. Don’t forget to add ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda for the last 2 minutes of soaking – this helps break down the fruit mixture further and helps the puddings rise. Discard the tea bag before processing the date mixture in a food processor until the puree is almost smooth.
The pudding batter begins the same way as making cake batter – you beat 70g softened butter with ½ cup (110g) brown sugar until it’s pale and creamy, then add an egg and beat to combine. Next, you add a mix of ½ cup (75g) plain flour and ¼ cup (35g) self-raising flour. This amount of self-raising flour is just enough to give the puddings a lift without them rising too much. Finally, mix in the date puree to make a smooth batter.
Once you have your batter ready, divide it among the moulds and cover with the paper and foil squares, then tie kitchen string around the top to secure. Stand the moulds in the slow cooker and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the moulds. This means the puddings will cook gently in the steam without overheating. If the water level is too high, the water can get into the puddings and make them soggy. Pop on the lid and leave them to cook on low for 3 hours. You’ll know they’re ready when a skewer inserted in the centre of the pudding comes out clean.
While the puddings are steaming, you can make the toffee sauce. Start by heating ½ cup (110g) caster sugar in the saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve. After 5-8 minutes, the sugar will have melted and turned golden brown. Carefully add the cream to the pan – it will bubble up, so make sure you don’t burn yourself on the hot sugar. Now reduce the heat to low and stir for another 5 minutes until it thickens into a beautiful toffee sauce. Stir in ½ tsp salt – the salt balances the sweetness of the caramel and enhances the flavour. Then turn off the heat and leave the sauce to cool slightly.
To serve the puddings, remove them from the slow cooker and remove the foil, paper and string. Then turn them onto serving plates and serve immediately with a drizzle of sweet toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
We think this slow cooker recipe is our best ever sticky date pudding recipe because it’s easy, looks amazing and tastes absolutely delicious. Give these mouth-watering puddings a go and make them your way with our simple tips. While you have the slow cooker out, use more dates to make our amazing banana, date and walnut bread. Want the pudding and sauce all in one dish? Go for a self-saucing pudding, like our sticky banana and malt self-saucing pudding and pumpkin and caramel self-saucing pudding . Plus, find more classics and new ways to indulge with our dessert recipes collection.
Energy: 2116kJ/506 Cals (24%)
Protein: 6g (12%)
Fat: 20g (29%)
Sat fat: 13g (54%)
Carb: 75g (24%)
Sugar: 54g (60%)
Fibre: 5g (17%)
Sodium: 444mg (22%)