Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Robbie Burns Day!

Happy Birthday to the man responsible for Auld Lang Syne and Ode To A Haggis. The man who was once voted "The Greatest Scot" and the man who Bob Dylan named his biggest inspiration (for the 1794 poem 'A Red, Red Rose").

Robbie Burns Day to me means a feast of haggis, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), lots of kilts and usually time spent with family. My favorite memory will always be going to my Uncle Garry's house where he would prepare the haggis, my Auntie Lynn would address it and I would get to cut it with a sword. For those of you still unsure of what the fuss is about, the BBC has a great explanation of Burns Night.

In celebration of The Bard, I leave you with my favorite Burns Night dessert-Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Being part Scottish myself, and having lived in Edinburgh, I am a bit embarrassed that the recipe actually comes from Rachel Ray. Shame aside, it's delicious, easy and turns out every time.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

1-1/2 cups chopped dates
2 teaspoons baking soda
3-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3/4 cups dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a saucepan, bring 1 2/3 cups water, the dates and baking soda to a boil. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together 2 sticks butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the date mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and date mixtures. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the cream, remaining 2 cups brown sugar, 1 stick butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes; set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven, leaving the oven on. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes through the cake and ladle half the toffee sauce over the cake to fill the holes; set aside the remaining sauce. Bake the cake for 15 minutes more. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour, then invert onto a platter and top with the reserved sauce.

To the immortal memory of Robert Burns!

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