I’ve always struggled with the concept of spending 3 hours waiting for a pudding to re-steam on a most often than not hot, Australian Christmas day, so I thought I’d revisit a crowd pleaser in Sticky Date Pudding but laced it with Christmassy spices then paired it with a cooling brandy semifreddo instead of heavy warm custard. A semifreddo is simply an unchurned ice cream, but for those who own an ice cream maker and desire a more indulgent texture, feel free to churn your custard.
200ml milk or water
1 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
1 heaped tablespoon golden syrup (optional)
80g unsalted butter, softened
80g brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
2 large free range eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
Good pinch of nutmeg (optional)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
150g self raising flour, sifted
80g roasted pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter
200g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Brandy Semifreddo(Unchurned Ice Cream)
5 large egg yolks
70g caster sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
To make the pudding, bring the milk or water to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, add the dates, bicarbonate of soda and golden syrup if using. Stir briefly and rest for 10-15 minutes, until the dates are softened. Pulse in a food processor until roughly chopped.
Meanwhile, using a stand or hand mixer, whisk the butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition. Fold in all the ground spices and flour, then the nuts, and date mixture until just combined. Grease a 1.5L pudding basin well and pour the mixture in. Cover with a piece of baking paper then the lid or lay a piece of baking paper, then foil on top of one another with a pleat in the middle – the end result needs a 5cm overhang all around. Cover the basin with it making sure the pleat is centred, then following the perimeter of the bowl, secure well with kitchen string. Place the pudding basin on a trivet or upturned saucer in a tall pot and fill to halfway up the side of the basin with boiling water. Boil for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours making sure to top up with water as needed.
To make the butterscotch sauce, combine the butter, brown sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir and bring to the boil. Allow it to bubble for about a minute, until the mixture turns a couple of shades darker. Set aside until serving.
To make the semifreddo, first line the loaf tin with ‘go between’, with 7cm of overhang on all sides. To make the custard, combine the milk and cream in a medium-large heatproof bowl and microwave on the highest setting for about 3 minutes OR until very hot. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar well as soon as they are combined. Add the yolk and sugar mixture to the hot cream and milk. Whisk well, then buzz in the microwave for 2 minutes. Whisk madly and buzz for 1 minute. Repeat until the custard thickens to the texture of pouring cream and whisk in the brandy. Cool a little before transfering into the lined loaf tin, then folding the sides to cover the custard. If you prefer, churn in an ice cream machine following manufacturer’s instructions.
To serve, microwave individual slices of pudding with generous spoonfuls of butterscotch, and a slice of the brandy semifreddo.
Create Poh’s Steamed Date & Ginger Pudding with these great items: