Hailing from the 70s and reaching peak popularity in the 90s, sticky toffee pudding now sits alongside the likes of lemon delicious, rice pudding and chocolate fondants as a classic. Sweet, sticky and completely addictive, it is always a crowd pleaser.
200g fresh dates, pitted and chopped 250ml (1 cup) water 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 150g (¾ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar 2 eggs 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour Cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 18 x 28cm shallow cake tin with melted butter and line the base and two long sides with one piece of baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang the sides.
Place the dates and water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until pulpy. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and then set aside for 20 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in the cooled date mixture and then the flour until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Meanwhile, to make the toffee sauce, put the butter, sugar and cream in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove the pudding from the oven and pour a quarter of the hot toffee sauce over. Set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the warm pudding from the tin, cut into portions and serve drizzled with the remaining warm toffee sauce and accompanied by cream or ice-cream.
Any leftover pudding and sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat both separately in the microwave on medium in 1-minute bursts until warmed through.
Prep 15min (+20min chilling time)Makes: Enough for a 23cm round tart case, a 24cm square tart case, ten 6cm individual tart cases, a 31cm x 10cm tart case or 24 tartlet cases (1 tablespoon capacity)
Shortcrust pastry, when you have a good recipe, is one of the simplest and quickest pastries to make. Here I have given lots of making ahead and freezing tips as well as three great variations to use in a selection of both sweet and savoury tarts and pies.
225g (1½ cups) plain flour Good pinch salt 150g chilled unsalted butter, diced 3-3½ tablespoons iced water
Place the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the iced water over the flour and butter mixture. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until evenly combined and the mixture starts holding together. Press a little of the mixture between your fingers: if it holds together easily, there is no need to add more water. If it doesn’t, add the remaining ½ tbsp water and combine. The pastry should be soft but not sticky.
Bring the pastry together with your hands and transfer to a lightly floured, cool benchtop. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 30 seconds or until smooth and soft. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
This pastry (and all the variations below) can be made up to 3 days before using. Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. Stand at room temperature for 20-60 minutes (depending on the weather) until softened slightly, enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry
Shape pastry into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap, then seal in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Transfer to the fridge to thaw completely (this will take about 1 day). Stand at room temperature for 20-60 minutes (depending on the weather) until softened slightly, enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry case/s
Place the pastry cases, still in the tin/s in the freezer until frozen. Either leave in tin/s or remove and seal in freezer bag/s or airtight container/s. Freeze for up to 1 month. Cook directly from the freezer or transfer to the fridge to thaw completely (this will take about 1 day) and blind bake or cook as directed in the recipe.
Parmesan Shortcrust Pastry: Combine 40g (½ cup) finely grated Parmesan with the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Add 2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar or caster sugar to the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter.
Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry: Reduce the flour to 200g (1⅓ cups). Sift with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons icing sugar and the salt before rubbing in the butter.
Serve with milk and a dollop of Greek-style yoghurt for a satisfying and tasty breakfast that will take you through to lunchtime without the need to nibble.
300g (3 cups) rolled oats 75g (½ cup) pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 75g (½ cup) sunflower seeds 65g (1 cup) shredded coconut 100g natural almonds, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 125ml (½ cup) unsweetened apple juice 2 tablespoons single-origin floral honey 90g (½ cup) dried blueberries (see Baker’s Tips) Milk, Greek-style yoghurt and coarsely grated apple or other fresh fruit of your choice
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour over the apple juice and stir until evenly combined. Spread evenly on the oven tray and then drizzle evenly with the honey.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes, until evenly toasted and crisp (the muesli will crispen further once cooled). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Stir in the blueberries.
Serve with milk, yoghurt and apple or fruit of your choice.
Store the toasted muesli in and airtight container or jar for up to 1 month.
You can use 75g (½ cup) currants in place of the dried blueberries.
This muesli (without the blueberries) makes a wonderful crumble topping. Reduce the baking time to 20 minutes.
Almond & Blueberry Bircher Muesli (for 3 serves): combine 1½ cups of Toasted Almond & Blueberry Muesli, 185ml (¾ cup) natural apple juice, 95g (⅓ cup) natural Greek-style yoghurt, and ½ large red apple (such as pink lady), coarsely grated. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until the muesli has soaked up the liquid and is creamy. Serve topped with yoghurt, coarsely grated apple and coarsely chopped toasted almonds. Keep any remaining muesli covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
In my eyes, pears are the quintessential autumn fruit. The simplicity of this dish makes it so special. You could also serve these caramelised pears with vanilla bean ice cream (instead of yoghurt) and push it to the other end of the day for a divine dessert.
4 (about 200g each) firm but ripe pears (such as Williams or Beurre Bosc)
20g butter, softened
2½ tablespoons honey
Greek-style natural yoghurt, to serve
Almond seed bark
40g natural almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoonsunflower seeds
2 tablespoonsshredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoonhoney, warmed
Preheat oven to 160ºC (140ºC fan-forced). Line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
To make the almond seed bark, combine the almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut and cinnamon in a bowl and toss well. Drizzle with the honey and toss well to coat evenly. Spread on the lined tray and bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally or until golden and aromatic (it will become crisp on cooling). Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Break into large pieces.
To make the caramelised honey-roasted pears, increase the oven temperature to 200ºC (180ºC fan-forced). Peel and halve the pears. Use a teaspoon or a melon baller to remove the core from the pears. Rub the butter over the base of a shallow ovenproof dish just large enough to hold the pears in one layer. Place the pear halves in the dish cut side down. Drizzle with the honey and bake for 30 minutes, basting occasionally with the juices, or until the pears are just tender and caramelised underneath.
Serve the pears warm or at room temperature sprinkled with the Almond seed bark and accompanied by the yoghurt.
These pears will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
The Almond seed bark will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. If it loses its crunch, place on a lined oven tray in a preheated 160°C oven (140°C fan-forced) for 10-12 minutes or until aromatic. Cool on tray.