One thing I love about Christmas in summertime is it gives you permission to re-write the rules of tradition. I mean, who honestly wants to cook a hot roast on a stinking 35-degree day?
The same can be said for dessert. Back in the day my Nanna would make a plum pudding for the family get together. There was a lot of pomp in entombing the pudding info the huge [scary] pressure cooker and it would boil away for hours. Eventually it would be lifted out steaming and I would run and hide. Not even the promise of finding the sixpence could convince me to eat it. It was hot and full of raisins and I just wanted ice-cream.
But even I have to concede that for some people it’s not Christmas without pudding. So this week I’m suggesting you open your mind to something a lot less stodgy and a whole lot easier to make and serve – individual Sticky Date Puds.
Baked in a standard muffin pan, these puddings are not only easy to make, they freeze like a dream. And most importantly, they taste di-licious with a generous helping of Easy Butterscotch Sauce (recipe below) and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
And with the time you’ve saved making these little puddings, why not dabble in a little festive craft? I started making my own Christmas cards this week...
Recipe: Individual Sticky Date Puds
Recipe from Frost Bite: Everyday Food Fresh from the Freezer (Susan Austin)
Make 12+ individual puddings (depending on the size of your muffin pans)
200g pitted dried dates, chopped roughly
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
120g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
180g (1/4cup) caster sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
230g (1 ½ cups) self-raising flour, sifted
Special equipment: 12 hole muffin pan
- Put on your favourite Christmas CD to get yourself in the festive mood.
- In a small bowl, mix together dates, bicarbonate soda and boiling water. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and flour your muffin pan.
- In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar for a few minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy (you might need to scrape down the sides a few times).
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix through completely.
- Mix through the sifted flour and then stir through the cooled date mixture.
- Fill muffin cups half way (these babies rise a lot) and bake in oven on a low shelf for approximately 18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave cooked puddings in pan for 5 minutes before transferring face down onto cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
You can freeze the puddings. Simply wrap each pudding in cling wrap and place in a freezer-safe container and freeze.
To defrost, leave wrapped puddings on kitchen bench or in the fridge overnight.
To reheat, microwave individual defrosted puddings on low heat for a minute or so. For a crowd, place defrosted puddings on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with foil and gently reheat in a 180°C oven for approx 15minutes or until warmed through.
Serve reheated puddings on individual plates or bowls with generous splash of warmed Easy Butterscotch Sauce and scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Recipe: Easy Butterscotch Sauce
3/4cup (185ml) cream
200g brown sugar
- Put all of the ingredients into a small saucepan.
- Over low heat, stir mixture until butter completely melts and sugar has dissolved completely.
- Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week in a microwave safe container.
- To reheat, reheat on low for a few minutes until sauce is hot.