Sticky Toffee Pudding – the nation’s favourite pudding for several years. But what’s its origin? And how did it become so popular?

Several people (and companies) claim to make the original Sticky Toffee Pudding, and they all have their reasons why. But one cannot dispute that this infamous pudding was elevated into the spotlight by a hotel on the shores of Lake Ullswater in the Lake District; the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel.

This quintessentially classic British hot pudding consists of a moist date sponge cake, baked in a large tin and cut into squares and served with a toffee sauce. The Sharrow Bay sauce is a combination of black treacle, demerara sugar, soft light brown sugar and double cream, although other recipes of toffee sauce also pair well with the sponge. Lynne Mallinson, founder of Country Puddings chose a butterscotch sauce for their Sticky Toffee Pudding made with salted butter, brown sugar, double cream and vanilla extract.

Here is an easy sticky toffee pudding recipe that will serve 6 portions:

Ingredients

50g salted butter
150g soft light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
150g dates, chopped
250ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g self raising flour

250ml double cream
150g soft light brown sugar
1 tbs black treacle

Method

Preheat the oven to 160C/150C Fan/Gas Mark 3. Butter a wide shallow 1.7 litre/3 pint ovenproof dish.

In a bowl, place the chopped dates, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Allow to soak.

In a separate bowl, put the butter, sugar and eggs and beat using an electric handheld whisk for about 30 seconds or until combined. Add the flour and beat well. Carefully fold in the dates and water mixture (it gets quite sloppy at this stage).

Carefully pour into the tin. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until well risen and springy in the centre.

To make the sauce, put all the ingredients into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, stirring for a minute.

To serve, pour half the sauce over the pudding in the baking dish. Put the remaining sauce in a jug, to have on the table as extra sauce. Serve with cream or ice cream.

Any leftover sauce is delicious with ice-cream puddings such as banana split.

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