Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nearly a Disaster

Some many years ago John Tovey gave me his recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding, and this I adapted and Beloved renamed it as "Ticket Office Pudding" - so it could be a couple of years ago that recipe ended up on this site. Today I give a simplified version, made with much the same ingredients, but in a slightly different way. This is the perfect pudding for a cold winter's day and as STP freezes so well, it would be worth making the full amount. To reheat cut into portions and reheat in the microwave.
Butterscotch Pudding: serves 12 (F)
5 oz (150g) caster sugar
5 oz (150g) butter, softened
5 oz (150g) self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 fl oz (100ml) water
2 eggs, beaten
3 oz (75g) dates, chopped
Cream together the sugar and butter until soft and fluffy. Sieve the flour, bicarb and baking powder over the creamed mixture, then carefully fold it in. Stir in the water and eggs. add the dates, and when mixed in, spoon the mixture into a greased 7" (18cm) square oven-proof dish. l Bake at 180C, 350F, gs 6 for 20 - 25 minutes. Check with a skewer or cake tester to make sure it is fully cooked through, if not return to the oven for a few more minutes.
While the pudding is baking, make the sauce by putting 7 oz (200g) butter, 13 oz (375g) sugar, and 9 os (250g) double cream into a pan and heat gently until the butter and sugar has dissolved. Stir frequently until the sauce thickens.
When the pudding is cooked pour the butterscotch sauce over the top and cut into 12 even-sized wedges. Serve hot with extra pouring cream if you wish.
To freeze: After the sauce has been poured over the pudding, allow to get cold in the dish - the sauce should then have begun to set. Mark into squares then cover, wrap and freeze. Once frozen the squares could be removed and individually wrapped. Heat each portion for 1 - 2 minutes in a microwave or until heated through (timing depends on the portion size you wish to serve).

At this time of the year we sometimes feel we have missed out an important item from our shopping list (with me it is the turkey and frozen peas- can you believe that?), and if the absent item is sweets, then never despair for who needs to buy sweets anyway? There are many that can be made at home, and because of this - they could be better for us. Not to mention cheaper
Here are speedy ways of making a plateful of fairly healthy sweets from items that (hopefully) we always keep in store. You don't need to make the full amounts, or even the same nuts, just use the recipes as a guide.
Pistachio Stuffed Apricots:
1 lb (450g) no-soak apricots
3 oz (75g) shelled pistachio nuts
3 oz (75g) ground almonds
2 oz (50g) icing sugar
1 egg white or orange juice
Mix together the nuts, ground almonds and most of the sugar. Use enough of the egg white or orange juice to bind them together.
Open up the apricots and fill the cavity with some of the mixture, the mould the apricot back into shape and roll each in the remaining sugar. Leave to dry on a wire rack before serving.

Fruity Chocolate Bars:
4 oz (100g) prunes
4 oz (100g) no-soak apricots
4 oz (100g) dates
4 oz (100g) roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 egg white
2 oz (50g) dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate
Mince or chop (or pulse in a food processor) the fruits, then mix in the nuts with a little of the egg white to bind the lot together. Press the mixture into a small shallow tin that has been lined with greaseproof or parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl standing over (but not touching) simmering water, then when melted pour this over the fruit and nut mixture, spreading over the surface with a knife. Leave until set, then cut into bars.

Iced Peanuts:
2 oz (50g) peanuts, skins removed
1 egg white
4 oz (100g) icing sugar
Beat the egg white until just begin to stiffen, then stir in enough icing sugar to make an icing that will coat the back of a spoon.
Dip the nuts into this 'meringue' mixture, and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 5 minutes, or until the coating of icing is turning light brown. Cool on the tray, then serve in bowls for people to help themselves.