Last weekend, the boy and I were invited to an early Christmas bash of some extended family; there was a very very vicious game of secret santa (the type where you take turns picking gifts/stealing gifts off people), lots of food and plenty of drinks to go around. However, most of the guests were people I’m unfamiliar with and while the food was good (his dad made the best honey ham) I was uncomfortable and I didn’t really feel like a part of it all.
Christmas Day, however, I will be spending it at the boys’ mothers’ place and some of her family. The little kiddies will be there and personally, a more familiar crowd. The best part of all this is with such a smaller crowd, everyone gets to bring something to the table for Christmas Tea. I got to make some delicious potato bake with a 50/50 mix of sweet potato and royal potatoes. But this year, I’ve been tasked with baking some sweet goodies for dessert and Sticky Date Pudding was very fervently requested.
Friends will know that I may be a wiz in the kitchen with savouries but dessert and baking, in general, is not my forte. I think growing up in a home with no oven definitely contributed to some of that but I just never had any desire to make dessert. I’ve never been very creative and dessert always seemed to fiddly and pretty for my style of cooking. But I modestly accepted the baking challenge and I decided experimenting and practicing with this baking thing would be a good idea.
I found this recipe online and it all seemed simple enough. In hindsight, I should probably have let the dates soak in bicarb and hot water a little longer so they would break down more but there weren’t any random chewy chunks in the pudding. I think the time in the oven just helped it break down that last bit. The house smelled delicious as it was baking and I couldn’t wait to just pull it out of the oven and pig out. The recipe called for a baking time between 35 to 40 minutes but 35 was more than sufficient – it was moist in the middle and chewy/crusty around the edges. The different textures worked very well.
I did not follow the recipe for the caramel sauce because I made some salted caramel just the other night. This recipe for salted caramel went down really popular drizzled over popcorn at my 22nd and I made some more that evening to stir into my latte. But it went deliciously with my generous slice of sticky date pudding.
35 long minutes later, the oven finally buzzed and I sprinted from the study to the kitchen. Who needs oven mitts; the deliciousness prompted me to ignore all pain and just pull it out of the oven. Seriously though, I had to hunt around for our oven mitts and gingerly pulled the beauty out of the oven, flipped it onto a place and carefully peeled the baking paper off. There was so much excitement as I spread caramel on my plate and on my slice, sweetly asked for some vanilla ice cream before shoving my face onto the beautiful mess.
And you know what, it didn’t turn out too badly! The pudding did, however, turn out very rich and very sweet so a small slice would sufficiently fill up anyone, especially after the customary massive Christmas meal. I may try to put in slightly less brown sugar next round but I may keep it as is for Christmas day; after all, it is a day for decadence.
Are you making me anything special for Christmas?