Oh yes, pudding time again! At Christmas I love coming up with indulgent desserts as alternatives to the traditional Christmas pudding. Not knocking a Christmas pud, but I am loving this warming, spiced and delicious Vegan Ginger and Pear Sticky Toffee Pudding. Not your usual, I have festive-ed it up (is that a word? It is now!) with the Christmas spice ginger, and added pears for that winter feel and to add extra texture to the dish. Incredible with vegan ice-cream or vegan cream after your delicious roast dinner!
This is a good old British pudding, and for good reason. It reminds us of our childhood and the sticky toffee sauce is so sweet and fun. It has been great creating the vegan version, and of course, making it sooooo much better.
So the cake bit; this has extra sweetness and moisture from the dates, and I’ve added lots of ginger spice which contrasts so nicely. It reminds you of a gingerbread taste, which is filled with memories at Christmas. The twist on this sticky toffee pudding is the pears, and the beautiful fanned arrangement you can do with them makes them a showstopper for any dinner party dessert. Pears are very in season in winter, and are perfect for dessert; sweet and they hold their shape really well. They are actually very easy to cut into that fan shape (there are some photos below that show you how I did this), and they look so pretty when arranged like that. Of course you could use apples instead if that’s what you have available.
You can use margarine, or a vegan butter, for the cake mix, but Louise has introduced me to de-odourised coconut oil. As the name suggests, it doesn’t smell of coconut. This is so helpful as coconut oil is great to cook with, but often has a strong taste. We love coconut, but don’t want the taste in EVERY dessert! Many vegan butters and margarines still have palm oil in, but there are a few, like the Naturli brand, that don’t. Normal coconut oil is still also fine to use if that’s what you have.
Lastly, the sticky toffee sauce. So this is now mine and Louise’s go to sauce! We know other recipes use soya cream and margarine etc, but this one just works, and it is only two ingredients; coconut milk from a tin, and brown sugar. Any sugar will work but I prefer to use coconut palm sugar. You just boil up the two ingredients and let them thicken. This can take a while (10-15 minutes) and I always seem to have that little freak out of “Ahhhhh, it’s not going to thicken!” but it always does. You can double the toffee sauce ingredients for extra pouring fun, and it keeps in the fridge in a jar for at least a week! Brilliant for a drizzle on any other dessert; if using again later (if there’s any left!) heat it up before using so it goes more runny!
This Vegan Ginger and Pear Sticky Toffee Pudding is best served with vegan ice-cream or vegan cream, drizzled in extra toffee sauce and a big dollop of love!
Vegan Ginger and Pear Sticky Toffee Pudding
For the pudding mix
- 3 whole pears
- 4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 225 g pitted dates (1 cup)
- 150 ml hot water (⅔ cup)
- 100 g brown sugar (bit more than ½ cup)
- 50 g vegan margarine / coconut oil (plus extra for greasing) (4 tbsp)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 175 g self raising flour (plus extra for dusting) (1 ⅓ cups)
- 100 ml any non-dairy milk (bit less than ½ cup)
For the Pudding Mix
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Use a large baking dish / baking tin, and lightly grease with margarine / coconut oil, then dust with flour.
- Put the dates in the hot water, leaving to soak for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, start making the rest of the dessert. In a mixing bowl combine the margarine / coconut oil, sugar, ginger and vanilla.
- Add the bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice.
- Fold in the flour and non-dairy milk a bit at a time.
- Blend the dates with water until they form a thick puree. Then mix into the pudding mixture.
- Wash and peel the pears. Cut each pear in half then slice long ways going around the half pear so you have a fan shape (see photo).
- Take the slices from 2 of the pears and arrange in a fan shape at the bottom of the baking dish, with the thinner end in the middle.
- Pour the cake mixture in the baking dish, covering the pears. Pour carefully so as not to change the position of the pears that have been evenly spaced out.
- Then take the slices from the final pear and put in a fan on the top of the cake mixture, again with the thinner end in the middle.
- Bake for around 30-35 minutes. Before taking the dish out, check it has cooked through using a skewer. Cook for longer if needed. The skewer should come out pretty much clean.
- Once done pour half of the toffee sauce over the whole dish. Use the rest of the sauce as extra to pour on each portion once served.
For the Toffee Sauce
- Place sugar and coconut milk in a heavy-based saucepan. Stirring or whisking continuously, bring to the boil on a medium heat. Once boiled, turn down the heat.
- Let the sugar and coconut milk thicken on this low heat, stirring or whisking as much as possible. This may take around 10-15 minutes. It will be ready when it is a caramel consistency.
- Once it is cooled, it can be stored in an airtight container or jar in the fridge (if it doesn’t get eaten immediately!).