Sticky Toffee and Pear pudding

Ah those old cook books – I read them sitting up in bed! :)

My present one is  a great find – a book edited by Delia Smith (All Hail Delia!) with recipes from some very famous people, and some from people who were probably famous in 1978, which is when the book was published.

I marked this recipe particularly, and a rainy Sunday with an Amber warning of Wind and a storm forecast for tomorrow gave me the time I needed to give it a go.

In this recipe, the toffee sauce blends into the pastry and gives you a lovely crunchy topping.  I knew it would be a good recipe..

Get your platform shoes and bellbottoms out – we’re off to 1978!!


  • A 2lb (large) Loaf tin, with a ready-made liner inserted if you have one. Otherwise just butter and line it.
  • A large mixing bowl
  • 2 medium-sized bowls – I used large cereal bowls
  • A potato peeler or a sharp knife
  • A fine grater for zesting, and a larger grater for the butter.
  • A small saucepan

INGREDIENTS: Makes enough for 6-8 people.

  • 350g Self-raising Flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 75 g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge
  • 4 large pears – peeled and finely sliced – giving about 300g – any leftovers are the Cook’s treat! See NOTES about the pears
  • a lemon
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • Fine zest of a large orange
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground Ginger
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 50g butter

METHOD: There are several ‘bits’ to this recipe, and I think this is the best order to do them..

  • Peel  and slice the pears, put them in a medium sized bowl, and sprinkle with the juice of half the lemon.
  • Sift the flour and salt into the mixing bowl, and grate in 75g cold butter. Mix together and leave to one side.
  • Mix the caster sugar, orange zest and ginger together in the 2nd medium-sized bowl
  • Put the dark brown sugar – I used dark Muscovado – into the saucepan, add in the 50g butter and the juice from the second lemon half. leave to one side.
  • Heat the oven to 160ºFan or equivalent.
  • Put the lined loaf tin on a metal tray.
  • Add some very cold water – I used about 4 tablespoons – to the flour/butter mixture, and mix to make a firm dough.
  • Roll this out on a well floured worktop, to make a rectangle which is about the length of your loaf tin (that’s 24cms in my house) and about 20cms deep.
  • Sprinkle the pear pieces evenly over the dough
  • sprinkle over the orange zest mixture
  • Roll up the filled dough to make a swiss-roll type shape, with the seam underneath, then pat it into shape.
  • Lift it gently and place it in the prepared loaf tin, pop any bits that have fallen out into the open ends, then tuck them underneath too.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • While that’s happening, heat the brown sugar, butter and lemon juice until the butter melts.
  • let it bubble gently got a couple of minutes, then remove it from the heat.
  • When the 15 minutes are up, remove the dish from the oven and pour over the toffee
  • Return to the oven for 25 minutes at the same heat, until the top is browned and crunchy.
  • Serve straight from the tin in slices.
  • I like pouring cream with this, but custard (for Mr Sat. Night), or ice-cream would be delicious too!


  • My Conference pears were really almost over-ripe. I used a potato peeler to get the skin off, and just sliced them into medium thick slices. If your pears are under-ripe – I suggest roughly grating them before cooking. The reason I deal with the pears first is because it’s the messiest bit!
  • The lemon juice helps to keep the pears from browning but also enhances the flavour.
  • The orange zest makes a huge difference to this pudding – I could really taste it.
  • I imagine, although I haven’t tried it, that you could easily substitute the pears for grated Apples in this recipe. I’d probably exchange cinnamon for ginger too.

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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