- 6¼ ounces pitted dates
- 3⅓ fluid ounces water
- 3⅓ fluid ounces Irish stout
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1¾ ounces Irish butter
- 6¼ ounces sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 6¼ ounces self-rising flour
- 2 ounces apricots, diced and soaked in 4 tablespoons Irish whiskey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 3⅓ fluid ounces cream
- 3½ ounces Irish butter
- 3½ ounces soft dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
- 1 orange, zested
- 5 fluid ounces whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 orange, zested and 1/2 juiced
- dried orange slices and mint, to decorate
- powdered sugar, to finish
I am third generation on our family farm in county Wicklow, Ireland, and my mother opened our bed & breakfast in our 19th century farmhouse, over 50 years ago. This was one of her signature desserts and I learned to make it from her. It is still much-loved by all the visitors to our home and to our cooking school all these years later. It's a quintessential Irish dish, with our beautiful grass-fed butter, Guinness and Irish whiskey in it — what's not to love?
It is the ultimate comfort dessert for me. It's a very flavorsome cake (served warm) that literally "goes for a swim" in the whiskey toffee sauce. You'll also see this dish on menus in pubs in Ireland. My twist is the addition of the whiskey to the sauce. I hope you agree that I made a good choice there!
Technique tip: The dates must be well broken down to a paste. Cream the butter and sugar well until pale and fluffy to ensure a lightness to this cake. And fold in the flour, apricots and vanilla plus dates lightly to retain the lightness.
Swap option: Dried apricots can be swopped for dried cranberries, and Irish cream liqueur instead of the whiskey.
For the pudding:1.
Cook the dates with the water, stout and baking soda over a gentle heat, until they soften and break down to a loose paste, about 15 minutes. Leave on one side to cool.2.
Preheat the oven to 360 F. Line a 6- by 7-inch baking pan with baking parchment.3.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy and gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour, apricots, vanilla and the dates and transfer the mixture to the baking tin.4.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until firm to the touch.
For the sauce:
Place the cream into a pot with the butter, sugar, orange zest and whiskey, heat over a high heat, stirring all the time and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring from time to time until it thickens a little. Allow to cool a little.
For the orange cream:
Whisk together the cream, icing sugar and orange until light and fluffy.
Using a cutter, shape 8 circles. Place the sticky toffee pudding portions onto each plate, arrange an orange slice and mint sprig on top, generously spoon sauce on plate and some over the top. Place a dollop of cream on the side and dust with powdered sugar.