Hawksmoor at Home Sticky Toffee Pudding

The Hawksmoor Sticky Toffee Pudding (STP) is sublime. I was stuffed to the gills from the previous two courses, my stomach protesting vehmently at the thought of dessert. But one taste of this deliciously rich pudding, and I somehow found space for more. After that, it was a must-make at home! Armed with the recipe from the cookbook, I set to work.

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Because I am fussy, I baked this a few times to work out how to replicate the Hawksmoor version as much as possible. Just following the recipe produces a slightly rougher-textured pud, with tangible pieces of chopped date poking their way through the sponge. By blending the date mixture to a puree, you get a far smoother result. Although the recipe states dariole moulds, I had a good look at pictures online and I think it is actually baked in mini pudding moulds.

Just for fun, I baked the pud in both moulds to compare the two. The dariole moulds produce a tall sleek shape that looks very elegant. A moreish couple of mouthfuls and it’s gone.

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The pudding mould predictably produces a fatter, more traditional rounded STP. The sponge is beautifully soft and bouncy, and hungrily soaks up the toffee sauce.

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Given their thinner shape, the dariole STPs definitely require less baking than the pudding mould STPs. My first batch had a thicker, slightly chewy crust, so I took the next lot out five minutes earlier, and that seemed  to do the trick. I also compared ceramic pudding moulds with metal ones. I wouldn’t recommend using ceramic moulds unless you are serving the puddings inside them. They took longer to bake in the middle and were difficult to extract from the moulds, despite liberal buttering beforehand.

Anyway, like all good puddings, STP must be served hot. So it’s a bit of a organisation kerfuffle to make sure you have your puddings out of the oven, the sauce bubblingly hot, and the plates warmed before the whole lot come together into a delightful mouthful. It tastes sweet, but not overly so, and deliciously rich. Very good in small quantities.

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Just don’t count the calories, because there are a gazillionty-billionty. Also bear in mind when making this that the Hawksmoor recipe makes colossal quantities. I halved the recipe, partly for the sake of my waist-hip ratio, and for lack of freezer space.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Adapted from Hawksmoor at Home

Makes 8 (dariole moulds) or 6 (pudding moulds)

For the puddings:

  • 125g dates, roughly chopped
  • 3g bicarbonate of soda
  • 187ml boiling water
  • 40g beef suet
  • 63g dark muscovado sugar
  • 62g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 162g self-raising flour
  • 3g baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt

For the toffee sauce:

  • 63g dark muscovado sugar
  • 62g light muscovado sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125ml double cream
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Butter your moulds well, and cut out circles of baking paper to cover the base of each mould. Prepare the same number of foil squares to make lids for the moulds.

Put the chopped dates and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl. Pour over the boiling water. Leave to stand for several minutes. Meanwhile, mix the sugars and suet together. Crack in the egg, and mix together. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Blend the chopped dates and liquid into a puree with a stick blender.

Now fold half the date puree into the bowl of sugar, suet and egg. Then fold in the floury mixture until combined. Finally fold in the remaining date puree.

Fill each mould two-thirds full, and cover each with a foil square to form a lid. Place the moulds onto a baking sheet and put into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Whilst the puddings are baking, measure out all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan. Put on a low heat. Once melted, simmer for around 5 minutes until thickened. If you are serving the puddings straight away then unmould each pudding. Some may need the bases trimming flat so they stand up straight. Plate the puddings individually onto warmed serving plates, and ladle a spoonful of toffee sauce over each pudding, going round one by one, and adding more as they soak the hot sauce up.

If making the puddings for later, divide the sauce into two. After unmoulding and trimming the puddings, stand them all together in one dish, and cover with half the piping hot sauce as above. Allow them to soak all this up. Cover the dish, until the puddings are needed.

When needed, reheat the puddings in their dish, covered in foil, in a 180˚C oven for around 15 minutes until warm. Reheat the remaining sauce until hot, and pour over each pudding as before. Hawksmoor recommend serving with cold clotted cream or ice-cream. Mmmmmm.

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Dark Cocoa Brownies

The house is burstingly full of sugary treats right now. There’s a tub of M&S brownie mini-bites, some leftover fairy cakes from a decorating session with the little ones, a salty chocolate cake, and now this too! I feel a little as though I may be on the brink of diabetes…

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These are the richest brownies you can make without recoursing to the delights of melted chocolate. In fact, these don’t use dark chocolate at all, relying entirely on the powers of good cocoa powder. These aren’t squidgy sugary fudgy brownies, but dense solid brownies that deliver a richly satisfying chocolatey kick. They’re particularly great for a quick bake when you haven’t got that many ingredients handy. Even better, you can pretty much make everything in one bowl, minimising washing up.

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The brownie recipe is based on a good old Hummingbird Bakery one, but I’ve dialed back the sugar, and thrown in a handful of white chocolate chunks instead. Blissful. They went down swimmingly at work and home!

Dark Cocoa Brownies

Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Makes 16-24 squares

  • 4 large eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped roughly into chunks

Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Grease and line a brownie tin.

In a bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs, and the sugar until frothy. Then add the flour and cocoa powder, and mix in. Melt the butter until liquid, allow to cool, then slowly pour this into the mixture, beating as you go. Add half the white chocolate, and mix in well. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin, and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining chocolate chunks.

Bake the brownie for around 20 minutes until it is just set. Leave to cool in the tin until barely warm, then slice into squares.