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    Christmas sticky toffee pudding

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    Christmas sticky toffee pudding

    This is a Christmas pudding for Christmas pudding sceptics. A twist on a classic sticky toffee sponge, it’s flavoured with the heady combination of tangy clementines and rich brandy.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins

    Serves: 8

    Ingredients

    75g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
    150g stoned dates, roughly chopped
    55ml brandy
    100g light brown soft sugar
    ½ tsp vanilla extract
    1½ tbsp clear honey
    2 clementines, zest and juice
    2 eggs
    130g self-raising flour
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1 tsp mixed spice
    ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and grated
    double cream or ice cream, to serve (optional)

    SAUCE
    175g golden caster sugar
    2 clementines, segmented
    100g unsalted butter
    50ml double cream
    ¼ tsp sea salt flakes
    1 tbsp brandy

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3. Grease a 1.2 litre ovenproof pudding basin and line the base with a circle of baking parchment. Put the dates, brandy and 175ml water in a pan, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a little, until a thick paste has formed; set aside.

    2. Put the butter, sugar, vanilla, honey and clementine zest (reserve the juice for the sauce) in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition until combined. In another bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and a pinch of salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and fold in, then gently stir in the date purèe and grated apple until combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, smooth the top and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the pudding comes out almost clean, covering with foil after 30 minutes if browning too quickly. Leave in the basin, on a cooling rack, while you prepare the sauce.

    3. Line a baking tray with parchment. Put the sugar in a frying pan over a medium heat. Heat to dissolve and then until bubbling and golden; do not stir. Take off the heat, swirl in the clementine segments and, when completely coated, use a slotted spoon to lift them out onto the prepared baking tray; set aside. Carefully add the butter, cream and reserved clementine juice to the caramel residue in the pan, return to the heat, bring to a simmer and stir together to make a toffee sauce. Add the salt and brandy, then take off the heat. 

    4. To serve, turn the pudding out onto a serving plate. Spoon over some of the sauce and decorate the top with the caramelised clementine segments. Serve with the remaining sauce and cream or ice cream, if liked.

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    Cook's tip

    To top with spun sugar, as shown, first lay 2 greased wooden spoons on a sheet of baking parchment. Make more caramel by melting 200g caster sugar in a frying pan. When deep gold, take off the heat, dip in a fork, then take the thread of caramel slowly back and forth over the spoon handles. When cool, place the spun sugar on top of the pudding.

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