Thursday, June 13, 2024

Recipe: Sticky toffee pudding

What better way to see in your new house by creating an absolute belter of a pudding. Full of those comforting flavours of dates and sticky toffee sauce. Created by Sarah Hayward, Head Chef at The Coach in Marlow, this really is an easy recipe that will certainly wow your guests

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4/6 depending on ramekin size )

For the puddings:

  • 140g dark rum 
  • 225g water
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half and with the seeds scooped out
  • 225g chopped dates
  • 110g butter or beef suet 
  • 110 soft dark brown or muscovado sugar 
  • 3 whole eggs 
  • 140g flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Demerara sugar for dusting

For the toffee sauce:

  • 250ml double cream
  • 90g Demerara sugar
  • 80g butter
  • ½ tbsp golden syrup
  • ½ tbsp black treacle
  • Pinch of salt

To serve: 

  • 4/6 ramekins brushed with butter and lined with flour 
  • 1 packet of brandy snaps (6 in a pack, Waitrose) 
  • 1 tub of best quality vanilla ice cream (eg Green & Blacks) 


  1. To start, pour the rum into a saucepan along with the water and vanilla and bring to the boil.
  2. Once the rum liquid base is boiling, drop in the dates and cover with a lid and leave to soak for 1 hour. 
  3. While the dates are absorbing all of the sweet boozy stock, place the butter and muscovado sugar into a tabletop mixing bowl with a paddle fitted. 
  4. Beat together until the mix begins to aerate and resembles thick whipped cream, then add eggs in one a time. If needed, add a little of the flour to help the eggs to be absorbed into the butter. 
  5. To finish the cake batter, sift the flour and bicarbonate together into a clean bowl, then proceed to fold the flour mix into the aerated, creamed butter.
  6. Once you have an even cake batter, pour the mixture into ramekin dishes that have been greased and lightly floured. 
  7. Place the ramekins on to an oven-proof tray and bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for 15-20 minutes.
  8. While the puddings are baking, add all the sticky toffee sauce ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, give a little stir with a whisk and reduce to a simmer. The sauce will be ready once it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. 
  9. Once the puddings are ready, remove from the oven and run a small knife around the edge of each ramekin to release the puddings from the side, this will make it easier to get out of the dishes.  
  10. Then tip the hot puddings out into serving bowls, add a good ladle of the sticky toffee sauce to each bowl and top off each with a brandy snap and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Sarah Hayward is the Head Chef of The Coach in Marlow. She was born in Nottinghamshire and moved to the Isle of Wight when she was eight years old. Inspired to cook by her father, a Royal Navy chef, Sarah grew up around the sights and smells of the kitchen.

At 16, Sarah did a one-year apprenticeship at The Royal Hotel (2AA Rosettes) on the Isle of Wight working under Alan Staley. In 2010, Sarah then worked for Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor as an apprentice and left two years later as a Demi Chef de Partie. In 2012 she joined the team at Michelin-starred Lucknam Park and helped open the Cookery School, where Sarah enjoyed both the teaching element and the interaction with guests. She also worked for a year in the Restaurant Hywell Jones by Lucknam Park for a year, gaining invaluable experience. 

In 2015, Sarah joined The Hand & Flowers, the two-Michelin starred pub from Tom Kerridge, after just three months she was quickly promoted to Chef de Partie. Then two year’s later, Sarah joined The Coach as Junior Sous Chef, before promotion to her first Head Chef role at The Bull & Bear in Manchester’s The Stock Exchange Hotel which opened in January 2020. 

Sarah has worked for Tom Kerridge for seven years and now, coming full circle, she returns as Head Chef of The Coach, the one Michelin-starred pub in Marlow, a kitchen she knows inside out. Sarah will oversee a chef brigade of seven and with a small plate menu and an open kitchen, Sarah’s creative flair for ingredients and refined cooking is on show for all to see.

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