Monday, May 25, 2009

Stick the caramel sauce

Winter is undoubtedly upon us (yes, I know it's officially still autumn but try telling my chilled fingers and winter appetite that) and the dinner menu one particular night reads like the perfect traditional winter comfort food: roast leg of lamb served with a balsamic reduction and steamed vegies and sticky date pudding for dessert. Reads well - well, almost.

That is before I've read the recipe for the accompanying - and let's be honest, it's what really makes it - caramel sauce. It's like someone has a personal vendetta against the healthy food pyramid. Cream, butter and sugar - in generous quantities too. No wonder warm caramel sauce is so pleasure-inducing - it's evil.

Softened butter and brown sugar in bowl

I started on the cake, leaving the minature people on my shoulders a chance to fairly debate the "need" for caramel sauce with the pudding. We start with, coincidentally enough, butter, sugar and vanilla. I also cut down on the suggested one cup of sugar - the dates are plenty sweet enough even without caramel.

Egg addtion to creamed sugar and butter

I'm being lazy again and not using the electric beaters and giving my right arm and the wooden spoon a good workout. Beating in the first egg is simple enough; the second doesn't seem to want to cooperate and leaves the mixture a little separated, resembling risotto. It doesn't make that much of a difference once the soaked and chopped dates, accompanying water and flour are added. The mixture seems very watery but perhaps that's the difference between a pudding and a cake.

Date pudding batter

The quick taste test proves my sugar omission to be wise. There's a maple or honey-like sweetness, which must come from the dates, that's quite pleasing to the palate. And since I haven't the patience to bake for 40 minutes or so, it's the muffin tin and liners too. Pre-portioning, to stop me from having too much, I think optimistically.

Baked date 'puddings'

They bake and mingle yummy aromas with the cooking leg of lamb, and when they're ready they've taken on a rich golden brown colour from the dates. They're really light and airy inside, and thankfully not overly sweet with the chopped dates adding natural sugar hits in every bite.

To sauce, or not to sauce

P.S. I eventually succumbed to the power of the caramel sauce. Yep, went out and bought thickened cream and created the evil sauce of innumerable kilojoules and endless pleasure.

Caramel sauce

Caramel sauce on pudding

Steamed pudding with caramel sauce

Sticky date pudding

2 comments:

Betty said...

Oh, you must have the caramel sauce with sticky date pudding! It's the best part :) This looks really nice & comforting!

Tina said...

Hi Betty - agreed on the caramel sauce. Completely comforting when you don't think about the kilojoules...!

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