Apricot, Date and Guinness Slices with Guinness Cream SauceBallyknocken House

If you are looking for something special for a dessert on the day this is a definite winner and will wow your guests.  It's my take on the traditional sticky toffee pudding recipe, adding a truly Irish dimension with the addition of the Guinness. We make this in our cookery school to great applause, though we find that the measurements of Guinness can be a bit heavy handed!

Makes nine squares

For the slices:

150g stoned dates
120g dried apricots, chopped
150ml Guinness
120ml water
75ml whiskey
1 tsp bread soda
(bicarbonate of soda)
175g natural brown sugar
85g butter, softened
3 medium eggs, beaten
180g self-raising flour
100g chopped walnuts
For the sauce:
75g butter
75ml Guinness
75ml double cream
2 tbsp runny honey
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.  Line a 9” square brownie tin with parchment paper.
2. Put the dates, apricots, Guinness, water, whiskey and bread soda in a saucepan. Place over a gentle heat until the dates soften and break down, stirring occasionally. This should take about four to five minutes. Leave to cool.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs.
4. Fold the flour, walnuts and the cooled date mixture into the egg mix and transfer to the prepared tin. Bake for 35–40 minutes, until firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out on a cooling rack. Cut into nine squares.
5. To make the sauce, place the butter, Guinness, cream and honey in a saucepan and simmer over a low heat until the honey has dissolved and the sauce has thickened. Serve warm drizzled over the slices. This sauce is delicious with ice cream and it freezes well too.

Visit Catherine Fulvio's cookery school website here

*Catherine Fulvio is a TV Chef / proprietor, food writer and cookery tutor. The Wicklow native runs Ballyknocken Cookery School and Ballyknocken House.