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20 Dec 2017 No Bake Sweet

Sticky Pear & Date Steamed Puds

sticky pear and date pudding

A slow cooker is a very handy piece of kitchen kit and not just for savoury food. These mini puddings can be safely cooked unattended over a long period of time, making them perfect no-fuss dinnertime treats. If they have been cooked ahead of time (up to 24 hours) they can be warmed through briefly in a microwave. Alternatively, these can be cooked in a steamer for 40 minutes. Watch me cook it live on RTE’s Today show here.

M A K E S 6

1. Set the slow cooker to heat up as per manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Place the dates and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave aside for about 5 minutes while you prepare the moulds.

3. Butter the insides of the moulds or basins really well. Add a tablespoon of maple syrup into the bottom of each and set aside.

4. Drain the dates well and blend them to a smooth purée in a food processor. Add the butter and sugar and blend everything until fairly smooth. Add the eggs, flour, cinnamon and mixed spice and blitz again to combine.

5. Peel, core and finely chop the pear and divide it between the moulds. Ladle the cake mix over, dividing it evenly between them. Sit the puddings into the slow cooker, pop the lid on and leave to slow cook for about 8 hours or until the tip of a knife inserted in the centre of a pudding comes out clean.

6. Make the caramel sauce within the last hour of cooking. Place the caster sugar in a large, heavy-based, stainless-steel (so you can see the colour) saucepan with 3 tablespoons of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, without stirring, for 6-8 minutes until amber in colour. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, butter and cream. The mixture will bubble, spit and become lumpy but just stir vigorously until it dies down. Return to the heat, turn it up and allow to bubble for a further 2 minutes, continuing to stir until it forms a smooth thick sauce. Remove from the heat and serve either warm or at room temperature. Once cool, this will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

7. When cooked, remove the puddings from the slow cooker and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Turn each one out onto the centre of a serving plate to reveal the sticky pear topping. Serve at once with the caramel sauce, custard and topped with a sprinkling of pecans.

This recipe is taken from my first book, No Bake-Baking, available in all great bookstores and online here.

You will need...

200g pitted dates
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml boiling water
100g unsalted butter + extra for greasing
6 tbsp maple syrup
125g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
150g self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp mixed spice
1 large ripe pear

75g caster sugar
75g soft light brown sugar
75g unsalted butter
75ml double cream

300ml vanilla custard
25g pecans, chopped

Slow cooker
6 × 175ml dariole moulds or mini pudding basins
Food processor

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