Described by The Ivy as the Black Forest Gateau of the ’90s. Now that we’re some twenty plus years on we see it’s absolutely thriving on the menus up north. If you can’t eat it, spread it on your body to keep out the winter [and summer] chills. You’ll see we’ve started the STP score chart, relentlessly and selflessly testing each one where it’s available. Guest reviews also welcome in support of preserving our waistline.
For many years Delia’s Little Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe has been the gold standard. Individual, rather than as a large single cake, and with a nutty crunchy top to give some contrast to the smooth toffee sauce. Unfortunately we can’t get access to the top-secret recipe from Sharrow Bay, so here are a couple that should be used in case of emergency. Felicity Cloake’s heavily researched “perfect sticky toffee pudding”, or the one from The Ivy. The Ivy doesn’t claim to have invented it, but they do says theirs is the best. We’ll see.
You can read Felicity’s online. She comes down in favour of a muffin batter with dates, and layering the sauce through the pudding – an essential characteristic we feel. We’ll be trying that. Until then, this is the new definitive version taken from The Ivy, which also layers the sauce and makes the puddings individually. It’s taken from our rather splattered copy of AA Gill’s book on The Ivy [The Ivy: The Restaurant & the Recipes: Hodder Headline ISBN-10: 0340693126].
For the Date Pureé
- 375 g stoned dates
- 375 ml water
For the Sponge
- 130 g unsalted butter removed from the fridge
- 375 g soft dark brown sugar
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 450 g strong plain flour
- 10 g baking powder
- 3 g bicarbonate of soda
For the Toffee Sauce
- 640 ml double cream
- 340 g caster sugar
- 130 g liquid glucose [optional]
- 130g unsalted butter
First prepare the date pureé. Simmer the dates in the water over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and the water has completely evaporated. Process them in a blender until they are smooth.
Preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 4.
Now make the toffee sauce. Pour half the cream and the other ingredients into a thick-bottomed pan and mix well. Bring the sauce to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon, and continue to boil until it is golden brown. Remove from the heat, allow it to cool slightly, then whisk in the remaining cream.
Grease and line a baking tin, measuring approximately 30 x 24 x 6cm deep, with greaseproof paper. Now makes the sponge. In a food processor or mixer, cream the butter and sugar with the paddle on a medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs slowly, taking care that the mixture does not separate. [If this does happen, add a little of the flour and continue mixing for a minute or so.] Then fold in the sifted flour mixture slowly until smooth. Finally, add the warm date pureé and mix well.
Spread the mixture in the prepared tim and bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the sponge is firm to the touch. Allow to cool – it can be left in the tin. Remove the sponge from the tin and trim the outside edges. Cut it horizontally into three, then reassemble in the baking tin, speeding two-thirds of the sauce between the layers.
Once you have assembled the pudding, reheat it in the oven at 175°C/gas mark 4 for 15-20 minutes, then cut it into eight equal servings and top with the remaining toffee sauce. Serve the STP with ice cream, soured cream or crème fraîche.
Incidentally, The Ivy reopened on 1st June 2015 after a long refurbishment. Seems the menu has had a makeover as well. The Dressed crab and STP remain but, alas, the Salmon Fishcake with Sorrel Sauce seems to have disappeared. The last time they dropped the fishcake the menu had to be reprinted. There were customers who ordered nothing else…let’s see what happens this time.