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For the toffee sauce:
- For the sticky toffee pudding, grease a one-litre pudding basin with a little butter. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and tip out any that has not stuck to the basin.
- Add the dates to a saucepan with 200ml of water. Cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a food processor and blend with the vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
- Beat the softened butter and dark brown sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth.
- Add the golden syrup, treacle, flour, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and the puréed dates. Mix until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared basin, filling two-thirds of the way full. Fold a large piece of aluminium foil in half and grease one side with butter. Wrap the pudding in the greased foil, greased side facing into the pudding. (Pleat the foil a few times as you wrap it to allow room for the pudding to expand.) Secure the foil to the rim of the pudding basin with string.
- Put a heatproof plate in the bottom of a large, clean saucepan. Fill the kettle and put it on to boil.
- Sit the basin on the plate inside the prepared saucepan, with the smaller end of the basin facing downwards. Place over a low heat and pour boiling water around the basin until it reaches halfway up the side. Cover the saucepan with a lid and steam the pudding for 2½-3 hours (check occasionally to make sure the water hasn’t completely evaporated — top up with more boiling water if needed).
- Combine the cream, butter and sugar for the sauce in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Stir until melted, then whisk in the golden syrup and treacle.
- Remove the pudding from the pan, discard the foil lid and turn the pudding out onto a plate while warm.
- To serve, cut a wedge of the pudding, pour over the toffee sauce and serve with a scoop of ice cream and candied pecans.
Per Serving: 1117kcals, 63.6g fat (39.2g saturated), 136g carbs, 96.8g sugars, 8.2g protein, 3.6g fibre, 519g sodium
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