Thursday 28 July 2011

Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce and almond praline

How are we all going with Masterchef this season? Or do you watch it at all...? I guess I can only speak for myself and what I've heard from my family and friends... It is great to have Masterchef back on again (and I never quite got into the whole celebrity/children's versions). However, I must say, I'm not enjoying it as much as I did the first season, even the second season.. I am no longer a 'religious' viewer, and nor do my family and friends follow it with the same fervour as they once did. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it seems to me that Masterchef has become a little larger than life, a little over-dramatic perhaps... At any rate, may the best cook win!

Regardless of your sentiments on the show, please allow me to take all you Masterchef fans on a nostalgic journey back to Season 1 in 2009. Do you remember the Sticky date pudding challenge?! How many of you bookmarked the recipe on the website and never got around to making it..? Anyone? Well, I know I did.. cleaning up my bookmarks recently I decided it was high time I got around to it making it!

This is a winter classic -absolutely wonderful :)

Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce and almond praline
Recipe from Masterchef Australia (Season 1)


180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1¼ cups (310ml) water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
60g butter, softened and chopped
2 eggs
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour

Almond praline
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

Butterscotch sauce
50g butter
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

 1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced). Lightly grease eight (½ cup capacity) metal dariole moulds.

2. Place dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat. Add bicarbonate of soda, stir until dates start to break down, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand beater, gradually add eggs one at a time, beat until light and fluffy.

4. Add date mixture, stir to combine. Carefully fold through sifted flour, divide mixture evenly between the eight moulds, until 2/3 full.

5. Place moulds in a baking tray, carefully pour water in tray until it comes up 1/3 of the side of the moulds. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden and skewer comes out clean.

6. Meanwhile, for the almond praline, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Scatter almonds onto a baking paper-lined oven tray, pour over caramel and cool until set. Break praline into pieces.

7. For the butterscotch sauce, combine butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

8. To serve, invert the hot pudding onto a serving plate, top with butterscotch sauce and shards of praline.

CUPCAKE variation
As I only have 4 dariole moulds, I used the leftover pudding batter to make some delicious cupcakes!

Here's how...

Sticky date cupcakes with butterscotch buttercream and almond praline
makes 10-12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes, follow the above pudding recipe and divide among a cupcake paper lined muffin tin, filling each three-quarters. Bake at 180 degrees celsius on an upper shelf for 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Sit in tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Butterscotch buttercream
Cream 125g softened unsalted butter, 1½ cups sifted icing sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add 4-5 tablespoons cooled butterscotch sauce (recipe provided above) in an electric mixer until the desired consistency is achieved. Pipe or spread over the cooled cupcakes, and finish with a shard of the almond praline (recipe provided above).

So tell me, if you are a viewer, what are your thoughts on the current season of Masterchef Australia?

Ladybird x


  1. I have to admit the only episode of Masterchef I ever watched was the Adriano Zumbo macaron tower one. I'm just not that into reality tv shows. But I have read a couple of the magazines and they do come up with some fine recipes, obviously this one included. Like the cupcake variation too.

  2. I have never tasted sticky date pudding :) It sound really delicious and with the butterscotch sauce, yummy!

  3. Oh how lovely, I haven't made one of these for ages, thanks for reminding me and the great recipe too.
    I agree that this season isn't as good as the first one, and sometimes it seems a little like things are "steered" towards certain results. The recipes are still good though!

    I just got my parcel too and thanks sooo much it's just so gorgeous! You totally made my day!

  4. I love the decoration!!! Have to try this!!

  5. That looks 'smashing'!! i do watch masterchef but as with you it just is not hitting the right notes, too much drama, not enough about your skill as a cook. Thats the problem i think, the best cook wont win.

  6. Looks gorge - good one. I have to say, I haven't been matching masterchef at all, not even intermittently ! Maybe caught 5 shows max throughout the whole season, don't know why, but this year, I just don't care.

  7. Don't get me started on MasterChef! Overcooked with too much seasoning! The likeability factor of reality tv relies so much on the contestants. And other than Michael and Hayden (now gone), I don't respect and like them as much as Callum, Adam, Marion, Poh in previous seasons. Finally, what's with Legohead?! She: makes a milkshake and cupcake. FAIL. Makes some poo coloured dessert. FAIL. Wins immunity against a swimmer! SEASON 3 - EPIC FAIL.

  8. Sticky Date pudding is one of the desserts that makes me proudest of being Australian :P Love the praline idea!

  9. Sticky date pudding is a classic but I haven't made it in ages. I need to fix that asap, especially as it tastes better in winter.

  10. Oh how I wish I was living somewhere cool so I could indulge in such a wonderful dessert! I love this blog LadyBird!

  11. Ahhh, you read my mind. This would be so perfect right now to devour in my cubicle cell at work! I love butterscotch buttercream

  12. oh lovely! will have to make these to bring them in for morning tea next week! :) do you reckon i could cut the sugar down to 1/2 a cup?

  13. Yes, you could definitely try cutting down the sugar as these are quite sweet. Hope it works out well! :)

  14. love the photo of the praline! looks perfect!

  15. Totes trying this one on the dinner guests!

  16. i made the cupcakes and they were amazing. a huge hit with my family and friends
    thank you so much for sharing this recipe

  17. I cooked it at home once, it was not good. But I will try your recipe. I hope I will make good this time.


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