Tag Archives: maple syrup

Date and maple syrup steamed pudding

Date and maple syrup steamed pudding

We had a pretty good summer in southern England this year, with very little rain and a reasonable amount of sunshine July to October. But now it’s definitely Autumn, with winter round the corner and that means one thing: steamed puddings!

OK, maybe not just one thing, but I do crave serious stodgy English puddings in the winter. Growing up, a favourite was treacle sponge – actually a steamed pud made with golden syrup. It’s a recipe I revisit regularly, and frequently use as the basis for variations on a theme, adding things like stem ginger, other fruits and spices.

Since the end of last winter, my kitchen whiteboard has featured an increasingly faint scribble saying “date and maple syrup steamed pudding”. This weekend we had a lovely visit from our friend Mary Margaret, who Fran worked with in Rome. She’s Canadian. So of course that’s a good excuse to reach for the maple syrup. MM said she hadn’t had a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving this year (10 October), so our Sunday roast stood in for it. She was very satisfied with my entirely non-traditional date and maple syrup pudding.

The dates were chopped and soaked in boiling water with half a teaspoon of baking soda. This is a technique used when making sticky toffee pudding, another classic stodgy English pudding. Which probably had its origins in a Canadian recipe.

I do include a bit of golden syrup here as it’s thicker than maple syrup and I felt it’d help with the texture but if you live somewhere that it’s not available (the US, I believe), just use all maple syrup. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe.

Date and maple syrup steamed pudding, sliced

100g dates, roughly chopped
2g baking soda
Boiling water
70g maple syrup
20g golden syrup
190g butter, softened
150g soft brown sugar, or light muscovado
3 eggs, lightly beaten that is about 170g
190g self-raising flour
4g baking powder
2g cinnamon
2g allspice
Pinch of salt

1. Put the dates in a bowl, add the baking soda and cover with boiling water. Leave to soften.
2. Grease a 1.2 litre pudding basin with butter.
3. Put the syrups in the bottom of the basin.
4. Beat together the softened butter and sugar until light and creamy.
5. Add the beaten egg a little at a time, continuing to beat. If it starts to curdle, add a little flour.
6. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and spices, then sieve this into the beaten mixture, along with a pinch of salt.
7. Strain the dates and add to the mixture.
8. Fold to combine. If it seems a bit firm, add some of the date liquid or a splash of milk.
9. Put the mixture in the pudding basin.
10. Cover the basin with a piece of foil, with a pleat in it. You can tie the foil on, but I’ve given up these days.
11. Put the basin in a large saucepan with some boiling water, or in a steamer over a saucepan, and steam for about 2 hours.
12. Remove from the saucepan and lift the foil. The top should be fairly firm and cakey.

Date and maple syrup steamed pudding, foil

13. Turn out onto a plate.
14. Drizzle with more maple syrup and serve warm with cream or ice cream for extra indulgence. Preferably on a cold, rainy day. If you feel the need, go for a good energetic walk – before or after – to justify it to yourself…

Date and maple syrup steamed pudding, with cream


Filed under Puddings & desserts, Recipes

Brazil nut, maple and white chocolate blondies

White chocolate maple Brazil nut blondies

If you’re a baking obsessive and have a bit of a sweet tooth, you’ll know that feeling when you just have to have something sweet and homemade in the house. Call it a sugar addiction, but I prefer to think of it as enthusiasm. (I’m not allowed to say I’m passionate about it though, as that’s Fran’s linguistic bugbear du jour.)

The other day, I was heading home, thinking, Damn, we’ve eaten all the last batch of cookies. I fancied something chocolately, and while some chocolate cookies are quick to knock out and conventional brownies are  easy to make (I normally use a no-nonsense Stephanie Alexander recipe I’ll post here one of these days), I thought I’d veer towards blondies instead.

For those who haven’t encountered them before, blondies are like brownies – a gooey, sweet, tray-bake – but are light in colour and flavoured more by the sugar (something rich like Demerara), and not by cocoa and dark chocolate.

White chocolate maple Brazil nut blondies

Here’s what I came up with.

75g unsalted butter
100g Demerara sugar
80g maple syrup
75g plain flour
1 t baking powder
2 eggs
1 t vanilla essence
100g brazil nuts
100g white chocolate

1. Preheat the oven 180C (160F fan).
2. Grease and line a square or rectangular baking tin. I used a 22cm square.
3. Melt together the butter and sugar, until the latter is starting to dissolve.
4. Add the maple syrup to the butter and sugar and remove from heat.
5. Sieve together the flour and baking powder.
6. Beat the sugar-butter mixture into the flour.
7. Beat the eggs and vanilla into the mixture.
8. Coarsely chop the nuts and white chocolate and stir into the mixture.
9. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth.
10. Bake for about 20 minutes. As with brownies, you don’t want to over-bake blondies, you want them to retain some moisture and squidge. Exact cooking time will depend on your oven.



Filed under Baking, Cakes, Recipes