Jacqueline Stephenson’s Sticky Toffee Pudding isn’t just any sticky toffee pudding – she claims it’s the first version of the recipe in Britain!
Debate still rages within Lancashire and Cumbria as to who first developed one of Britain’s favourite desserts but according to teacher Jacqueline this is the one and only original.
It’s all down to Patricia Martin, mother of Jacqueline’s partner, Piers Martin. Mrs Martin, known as Peggy, first served the dish in her country house hotel, The Old Rectory, in Claughton, Lancashire. It was given to her by two Canadian Air Officers who lodged with her during the Second World War.
Today, versions of the recipe are baked all over the country, but Jacqueline, 52, is adamant this is the original and best. Her secret, which she hadn’t revealed until now, is mashing the dates which gives little flecks of date throughout the dish and results in the perfect texture in the sponge.
8 oz plain flour, plus a little extra for the dates
6 oz stoned dates
2 oz softened butter, plus extra for greasing
6 oz granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg, beaten lightly
½ pint boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the toffee:
2½ oz brown sugar
1½ oz butter
2 tbsp double cream
Vanilla ice cream or double cream, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.
2. Flour the dates lightly and chop them finely. Pour the boiling water over them. Mix in the bicarbonate of soda and vanilla extract. Leave to cool.
3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat the egg into the creamed mixture with a little of the flour. Continue beating for a couple of minutes before adding the rest of the flour.
4. Add the date mixture to the batter and blend well.
5. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin, (11in x7in). Bake for about 40 minutes, until it is firm on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
6. To make the toffee, heat the brown sugar, butter and cream together, gently at first, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes.
7. Pour the toffee over the hot pudding and place under a hot grill until it bubbles. Watch it closely, as it can easily burn.
8. Serve in warmed bowls with fresh double cream or vanilla ice cream or both!