Entertainer and cook Paul Mercurio takes time out of his busy schedule and pops in to see the Breakfast Club boys every once and a while with his delicious bag of tips and tricks from the kitchen?
This week he shares a winter favourite, STICKY DATE PUDDING and starts with –
The Hoegaarden Grand Cru is a big, sweet Belgian wheat ale coming in at 8.5 percent alcohol. It has a lovely sweet, malt character, subtle wheat influence and spice notes from coriander and is perfect for this cake and the caramel sauce. The only problem with it is it is a little hard to find. There are a couple of beers at Dan Murphy’s that fit this brief also such as La Trappe Quad, Mad Abbot Triple, Grand Ridge Supershine. It is worth using a big high alcohol ale as it really adds to the dish.
Sticky Date Pudding
250g dried dates – chopped in a blender
1 teaspoon Bi Carb
1 cup of Hoegaarden Grand Cru
½ cup of water
100g of unsalted butter – softened
1 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 eggs – approx 62 g each
1 ¾ cups of self raising flour
Reheat your oven to 160° c. Prepare a 22cm by 7 cm deep cake tin by buttering and lining the tin with baking paper.
Put chopped dates into a bowl and sprinkle the Bi Carb over them. In a saucepan add the beer and the water and bring to the boil then pour over the dates and mix well. Leave to soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
Using a cake mixer beat the butter, sugar and the vanilla essence together until creamy. Add one egg and mix well before adding the second egg and mixing that well. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a spatula fold the date mix through the sugar and egg mix and then gently fold through the self raising flour. Pour in to the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour and fifteen minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly. If the top browns a little too fast cover it with some al foil.
The Caramel Sauce:
2 cups of cream
1 cup of brown sugar
60g of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of Hoegaarden Grand Cru
Put the cream, sugar and butter into a saucepan and bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for about 8 minutes. Add the beer and stir through and simmer for a further 2 – 3 minutes.
Cut a slice of cake, put it on a plate and drench it with the sauce and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The Hoegaarden Grand Cru is a big sweet Belgian wheat ale coming in at 8.5%. It has a lovely sweet malt character, subtle wheat influence, spice notes from the coriander and possesses a fruity/estery bite from the yeast and the warmth from the high alcohol. It is a great beer for making cakes and sweet rich sauces.
This delicious dish can be found on p 197 in Cooking with Beer, one of Paul’s many cookbooks.
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Written by: Debra Mar