Sticky Date Pudding has been around for decades, and for good reason. It’s the ultimate comfort food!
This recipe will help you easily create this much-loved dessert: perfectly soft, sweet pudding and a rich, smooth butterscotch sauce.
This recipe is from my mum’s secret stash which she acquired during her many years working as a pastry cook in country bakeries. It’s been tested many, many times – in both commercial and home kitchens – and I’m sure it will continue to be added to many “favourite recipes” folders.
A perfect winter warmer
Sticky Date Pudding, also called Sticky Toffee Pudding, never goes out of fashion and is especially popular through the winter months.
It’s thought to have originated in the UK in the 1960s, and reached peak popularity here in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s.
Over those decades, I may have over-indulged, enjoying it at many cafes around the Hunter Valley and Sydney. But my favourite version was always my Mum’s.
With winter in full swing now, and too many years passing since I enjoyed this lovely pudding, I figured it was time to pull out the recipe and share it. And enjoy another serve of this classic treat in the process!
Making the pudding
Don’t worry if you don’t have a pudding mould. For this recipe you can make single-serve puddings in a standard muffin/cupcake tin or use two bar tins (approx 24 x 14cm).
Grease the tins well and pre-heat the oven to moderate.
You’ll also need to pop a baking dish filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. This will keep the oven nice and steamy and ensure your pudding has a lovely soft texture.
Most of the ingredient list includes things many people will have on hand in their fridge or pantry. Of course you’ll also need some dates! I buy pitted dates and then chop them roughly myself.
The precise ingredient list and method is easy to follow and can be found in the recipe card at the very end of this post.
Make sure you keep scrolling past the picture of the original recipe to find the tested and tweaked instructions in the recipe card.
The most important things to note with the method are:
- do not fill the tins more than 2/3 full (you want a flat top so the pudding can be turned upside down to serve – not only does this achieve a more pudding-like shape but the butterscotch sauce is also absorbed more easily into the pudding)
- cover the tins loosely with foil before placing into the oven
- make sure the baking tray on the bottom shelf has water in it throughout the entire baking process
- the baking times vary depending on the tins you use, so make sure to check the precise time below in the recipe card.
The secret sauce
That butterscotch sauce is as good as it looks. And it’s an absolutely essential part of the Sticky Date Pudding experience.
As you can see, you flip the little puddings upside down to get that nice little pudding shape. And this means it also drinks up that secret sauce a lot better.
The sauce is easy to make up, and you can do it while the puddings are in the oven.
Simply add all of the ingredients – butter, brown sugar and cream – in a saucepan and, stirring, bring to the boil. Simmer for three minutes and you have your secret sauce.
Shhh… don’t tell anyone it’s that easy when you serve it up!
Tips for enjoying Sticky Date Pudding
Okay, so it’s pretty easy to enjoy this dessert.
Just remember that it’s best served warm with the butterscotch sauce (also warm) and cream or ice-cream.
It will keep for about a week in the fridge and can be re-heated in the microwave. Take care to re-heat the sauce gently.
You can also wrap and freeze the puddings for up to 6 months.
Mum’s original recipe
I’ve stayed true to this original recipe as it just can’t be improved. However, I’ve tweaked the cooking time a little to suit the recommended tins and you’ll find clearer step-by-step instructions (with some pictures) in the recipe card below this original recipe. So keep scrolling!
Sticky Date Pudding
- 225 grams roughly chopped and pitted dates (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 50 grams butter
- 3/4 cup caster sugar (165 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup SR flour
- 100 grams unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar (200 grams)
- 1 cup thickened cream (heavy cream) (250 ml)
- Preheat oven to moderate (170 degrees celsius, fan-forced) and place a large baking tray filled with water on the bottom shelf.
- Grease tins well (use standard muffin/cupcake tins – recipe makes 20 muffin-size puddings – or bar tins – use two approx 24 x 14cm tins).
- Combine chopped dates, bicarb soda and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for one minute and then set aside to cool.
- Cream butter and sugar in stand mixer and add vanilla extract.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating on med-high for 1-2 minutes after each addition.
- Add date mixture (it doesn't need to be completely cool but shouldn't be hot) and mix on low-medium speed for one minute.
- Gradually add sifted flour and mix using lowest speed until completely combined. The mixture will be quite runny.
- If using (2 x) bar tins, pour half of mixture into each tin.
- If using muffin tins, fill each pan only two thirds full.
- Cover tins loosely with foil.
- Place onto middle shelf in oven and bake for 35 minutes (for bar tins) or 30 minutes (for muffin tins). Make sure there is still plenty of water left in the baking tray on the lower shelf.
- Once cooked, allow to cool a little for a few minutes and then gently ease the puddings from the tins, using a butter knife if necessary to separate the sides of the puddings from the tin.
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continually.
- Simmer for three minutes.
- Serve puddings with butterscotch sauce, both warm, and ice-cream or cream.