Steaming keeps this family-sized pudding beautifully moist. Serve in slices with lashings of toffee sauce and a scoop of ice cream.
Equipment and preparation: For this recipe you will need a 1 litre/1¾ pint pudding basin.
vanilla ice cream
For the sticky toffee pudding, grease a 1 litre/1¾ pint pudding basin with a little butter. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and tip out any that has not stuck to the basin.
Put a heatproof plate in the bottom of a large saucepan. Fill the kettle and put it on to boil.
Place the dates in a pan with 200ml/7fl oz water. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a food processor and blend with the vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and dark brown sugar together until smooth.
Add the golden syrup, treacle, flour, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and the blended dates. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared basin. Fold a large piece of aluminium foil in half and grease one side with butter. Wrap the pudding in the greased foil, greased side facing into the pudding. (Pleat the foil a few times as you wrap it to allow room for the pudding to expand.) Secure the foil to the rim of the pudding basin with string.
Sit the basin on the plate sat inside the prepared saucepan. Place over a low heat and pour boiling water around the basin until it reaches half way up the side. Place a lid on the saucepan and steam the pudding for 2½-3 hours (check occasionally to make sure the water hasn’t completely evaporated – top up with more boiling water if needed).
For the toffee sauce, in a pan set over a low heat combine the cream, butter and sugar. When the butter and sugar have melted, whisk in the syrup and treacle.
Remove the pudding from the pan, discard the foil lid and turn it out onto a plate.
To serve, cut a wedge of the pudding, pour over the toffee sauce and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
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James Martin presents with help from chef Tom Kitchin and cookery writer Diana Henry.