30 January, 2014

Enjoying the Little Things

A missionary friend who is currently on home assignment wrote a short blogpost this week about the enjoyment she's getting at the "little things" about being "home" like the bread aisle at the shops.

I would agree, though shopping while we're in Australia brings mixed emotions, including terror at having to face so many choices, relief at being able to read the labels, joy at all the easily available products we miss in Japan, and sadness that we can't take some of it back with us.

Nonetheless, I'm enjoying a little thing here in Japan this week. I found dates at Costco last week and have turned some of them into a Sticky Chocolate Date Pudding. I made it for my husband, knowing his penchant to a hot pudding (by the way, this is different to a US pudding, in Australia the word goes usually with a cake-dessert, see here).

I'm not a big fan of pudding and don't usually bake it. I prefer cheesecake, pie, stewed fruit, or ice-cream for dessert. But this is divine!

Here's the recipe, if you want to try it out:

Sticky Chocolate Date Pudding

2 cups chopped pitted dates*
125g butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
⅔ cup milk
½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup self raising flour
½ cup plain flour
⅓ cup cocoa

⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup water 
Combine brown sugar and water with boiling water.

  1. Grease a deep 20cm square cake tin (I used a round cake tin because my square one was already in use), line base with baking paper.
  2. Combine dates, butter, sugar, syrup, milk and soda in a medium saucepan. 
  3. Bring to the boil, stirring, remove from heat.
  4. Cover, cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir eggs and dry ingredients into date mixture.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake in moderately slow oven (about 160˚C) for about an hour.
  7. Stand five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  8. Turn right way up, stand pudding on rack over a tray. Pout hot syrup evenly over hot cake until all syrup is absorbed.
  9. Stand 30 minutes.

Serve the cake with butterscotch sauce (see below) and a dollop of cream if you want (though it tastes great without the cream).

Butterscotch Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
150ml thickened cream
60g butter

Combine in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat, cook until sauce thickens slightly.

Beware: it is more-ish!

*Please note that this is written in Australian! 
1 cup = 250 ml. 
1 tablespoon = 20 ml. 
Self raising flour is ordinary cake flour with baking powder added, at the ration of 1 teaspoon baking powder per 1 cup of flour.

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