Date is very familiar in Bangladeshi households especially during Ramadan. I have always thought about doing interesting things with this fruit, so when I first ate sticky date pudding, I knew I needed to make it more interesting.
This is one of the first cakes I learned to bake as it is very easy. Normally you have sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce. In this recipe I have made smoked salted butterscotch. The salt gives a nice balance to the richness of the sauce. Also the crumb gives the whole dish different textures, making the entire eating experience quite special.
I use the smoking technique in my food a lot, which reminds me of food cooked in ‘khorir chula’. I like to think of it as a third dimension in flavour.
I use my smoking equipment in this recipe. If you don’t have access to one, skip this step. The cake will still be super delicious. Enjoy!
(This rcipe serves 4)
For the smoked salted butterscotch sauce:
92g brown sugar
65ml thickened cream
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (if unavailable use vanilla essence)
1/4 tsp ground pink Himalayan salt (if unavailable use regular salt)
For the cinnamon crumb:
25g plain flour
20g caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground pink Himalayan salt
15g unsalted butter, melted
For the sticky date pudding:
45g dried pitted dates, chopped
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
15 g butter
45g brown sugar
1/2 an egg
1/2tsp vanilla bean paste
45g self raising flour, sifted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the garnish:
100g crème fraîche
15g toasted walnuts
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C, set to fan.
2. For the butterscotch sauce, place all ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer over a low heat. Once they are dissolved, put it in medium heat and allow it to bubble away for about five minutes. Transfer the sauce to a medium mixing bowl and seal tightly with cling film.
3. Now create a small hole, the same as the smoking gun hose. Insert the hose into the bowl and light the smoking chips (I prefer hickory, you can try others). Allow the bowl to fill with smoke then remove hose and seal bowl again tightly with a fresh piece of cling film. Leave aside to smoke for five minutes. Taste it and if you don’t have enough smokiness, refill bowl with smoke and set aside for five more minutes. Remove cling film and store until required.
4. For the crumb, transfer all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, add melted butter and combine. Transfer the breadcrumb like mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes. It will be golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
5. For the sticky date pudding, grease four medium sized dariole moulds (you can get these at Lavender in Gulshan 2). In a small saucepan, bring 80ml of water to the boil then remove from heat. Place the pitted and chopped dates and bicarbonate of soda into water and heat it for 3-4 min. Set aside.
6. Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl using a beater or stand mixer. Once creamed, add egg and vanilla bean paste and beat further to combine. Add sifted flour and cinnamon and fold until just combined.
7. Fold the date mixture into the cake batter until just combined and divide between your moulds. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes. Remove puddings from oven and use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the puddings. Pour some of the butterscotch sauce (you might need to reheat the sauce prior to pouring) over the puddings to soak in and return to oven for five minutes. Remove from oven and set aside in moulds to cool.
8. To serve, spoon cinnamon crumb on plate. Add some walnuts. Place a pudding on one side of the crumb. With a dessert spoons, quenelle Crème fraîche and place on the other side of the crumb. Drizzle the smoked butterscotch sauce over the pudding and garnish it with micro basil.