Sticky Sesame Toffee Pudding

Week 4 of the Bake Off saw desserts hit the tent! The bakers made their signature pavlovas and got all sticky in the technical with individual sticky toffee puddings with tuiles and were challenged to make a layered joconde imprime dessert. I took inspiration from the technical challenge this week and wanted to combine the ingredients from the tuiles into the sticky toffee pudding itself and came up with my Sticky Sesame Toffee Pudding!

I have never made sticky toffee pudding before and I don’t think I’ve actually ever had one before but it’s always been, to me, such an indulgent pudding that is just perfect for the autumn and winter months. Traditionally black treacle is used in the sponge but it’s not an ingredient that I tend to have on hand or use often so I use molasses sugar to give that delicious rich sweetness so typical of a sticky toffee pudding. Dates also provide lots of stickiness and stodginess, again all good qualities for a autumnal comfort pudding.

This recipe was inspired by Nicky from Kitchen Sanctuary whose sticky toffee pudding recipe came up onto my YouTube feed. Check out her video below!

But it wouldn’t be one of my recipes without a twist and I had the idea to take the ingredients from the tuiles and incorporate them into the pudding. Sesame is one of my favourite ingredients and I wondered whether the intense nuttiness, almost bitterness, of sesame would work in the pudding to counteract some of that sweetness. The sesame seeds are toasted and then crushed into a mix of fine powder and small chunks and adds such great fragrance to the pudding, as well as some savouriness to counteract that intense sweetness. And sesame also has to go into the toffee sauce that gets poured on top of the pudding after it comes out of the oven for extra flavour.

For the sesame toffee sponge:

  • 180g dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 180ml boiling water
  • Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g margarine or unsalted butter
  • 75g dark muscovado sugar
  • 50g molasses sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • Half a teaspoon of baking powder
  • 15g white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 15g black sesame seeds, toasted

For the sesame toffee sauce:

  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 50g margarine
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150ml double cream, split up into 100ml and 50ml
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, a mix of white and black, toasted

Preheat the oven to 170°C fan. Grease a 19cm by 24cm by 5cm baking dish well with some butter or margarine and set aside.

Place the chopped dates into a heatproof bowl with the boiling water, making sure the dates are fully submerged. Leave to soak for 15 minutes before adding the bicarbonate of soda and using a fork to mash the dates. Crush the toasted sesame seeds in a grinder or using a pestle and mortar until they form a mix of fine powder and small pieces. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, place the margarine with the muscovado and molasses sugar and beat well until the sugars have dissolved and the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, adding the vanilla extract with the final egg.

Add in the two flours, the baking powder and the crushed sesame seeds into the mixture and fold until it is just combined. Then pour in the date mixture and fold until well incorporated.

Pour the pudding batter into the greased tin and spread out to fill the tin. Bake the sponge for about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean.

While the sponge is baking, prepare the toffee sauce. In a saucepan, place the brown sugar, margarine, golden syrup and 100ml of the double cream and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly. When it has boiled, leave to boil for a further couple of minutes, stirring to prevent it burning. The sauce should be a rich toffee colour and smell really sweet and fragrant. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining 50ml of cream and the toasted sesame seeds and stir to combine. Set aside until the sponge is baked.

Once the sponge is done and is still warm, pour over enough of the toffee sauce to cover the entire surface of the sponge. To serve, spoon out a portion of the sponge into a bowl, topping with either more of the toffee sauce, more double cream or some vanilla ice cream.

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