Sticky toffee pear pudding 2016

Sticky toffee pear pudding

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 50 mins

More effort

Serves 8

A lighter version of sticky toffee pudding, rich with dates and spices, and the juicy texture of poached pears, this vegan dessert is sure to please a crowd

Nutrition and extra info

  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal646
  • fat27g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs94g
  • sugars75g
  • fibre6g
  • protein4g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 8 small firm pears (we used Conference)



    Like apples, to which they are related, pears come in thousands of varieties, of which only a…

  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 6 cloves



    A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a…

  • 1 lemon, zest pared



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 orange, zest pared



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • vegan ice cream, to serve (optional)

For the sponge

  • 250g pitted dates



    Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits - it's thought that they were a staple part of…

  • 2 tbsp linseeds
  • 300ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 200ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice


  1. Peel the pears and cut the bottom off each to give a flat base – cut them to a height that will fit snugly in your tin. Use a melon baller or small knife to cut out the pips from the base. Roughly chop the pear scraps, discarding the pips, and set aside. Tip the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, zests and 600ml water into a saucepan large enough to fit all the pears. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears, cover with a lid or a piece of baking parchment, and poach gently for 15 mins until a knife easily slides into a pear. Leave to cool in the liquid.

  2. Now make the sponge. Put the dates and linseeds in a saucepan and add the almond milk. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 2-3 mins until the dates are soft. Pour into a food processer and blitz until smooth. Add the oil and blend again, then scrape into a bowl and set aside to cool a little. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin (a loose -bottomed one if possible) with a strip of baking parchment.

  3. Put the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with 1/ 2 tsp salt. Mix well, breaking up any lumps of sugar with your fingers, and shaking the bowl a few times to encourage any remaining lumps to come to the surface. Add the date and oil mixture, and stir well. Fold in the chopped pear scraps. Scrape the cake mixture into the tin, then nestle in the pears, standing straight up, so that the bottom halves are covered. Bake for 35-40 mins until the cake is cooked through. Insert a skewer to the centre to check – it should come out clean. If there is any wet cake mixture on the skewer, return the cake to the oven and bake for 10 mins more, then check again.

  4. Meanwhile, bring the pear poaching liquid back to the boil and simmer until reduced to a glossy syrup. When the pudding is cooked, cool for 5-10 mins, then brush all over with the syrup, saving a little extra to serve alongside, with vegan ice cream, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Jan, 2020
Delicious winter pudding went down a storm to round off New Year’s Day dinner. Non of us vegans not that it matters. Added in some crystallised ginger to the dry cake mix which added some extra zing. Will definitely make again!
27th Jan, 2019
Followed this recipe to the letter apart from 1/2 the quantity of cloves and star anise, as it was the reduced liquid from the poached pears was unpalatable. I found a vegan caramel sauce recipe to substitute..My only other change was to use gluten free flour which I’ve used in the past with no disasters but this did not work out. After 40minutes it looked ready but i was concerned it looked raw underneath. It sunk dramatically when cooling and in reheating thoroughly found on serving overly moist mixture surrounding the pears not great. Flavour wise it was nice but I wont be trying this again.
20th Jul, 2020
I find the poached pear marinade so delicious I can't stop stealing a bit!
magsmaca's picture
5th Nov, 2018
Used only 120ml of coconut oil, and it seems perfect! On seccond time of making I just put the chopped pears in, and served the whole poached pears at the side. Absolute triumph.
18th Jun, 2018
I adapted this recipe to my favourite sticky toffee pudding for our vegan guests. So I put 200g washed glace cherries into bottom of tin, plus a peeled and chopped apple for moisture. Then I made the recipe from step 2 and poured onto the cherries and apple. When I turned it out upside down it looked brilliant with the shiny fruit now on the top. I served with vegan ice cream and everyone loved it.
22nd Jan, 2018
This cake is an absolute TRUIMPH! I didn't add any linseeds to mine as I didn't want to buy especially and it definitely needs to be served with some vegan cream or ice cream as it is incredibly sweet but it is delish! I prepped some of mine in advance so it could be cooking whilst my guests were eating the main - I poached the pears, reduced the syrup, weighed out all of my dry ingrediets and prepared the date paste all the day before then just mixed the wet and dry, assembled and bunged it in the oven on the day. Fab and super easy to make!
7th Jan, 2018
First vegan dessert I’ve made and it was brilliant! Delicious and moist, and looked lovely with the pears. I used soy milk instead of almond which worked well, didn’t affect the flavour. Also halved the ingredients and made in a smaller tin as I was only feeding 3. Highly recommended.
1st Dec, 2016
I was dubious about this recipe firstly because of the poached pears - would their juices prevent the sponge from cooking properly? And secondly because of the linseed - their taste I'm not fond of. I'm terrible at following recipes, always thinking I know better. I was tempted to leave the linseed out hoping the dates would be enough to bind the mix. But I followed the recipe to the letter and I am not disappointed. The sponge cooked: No sogginess from the pears. And no unpleasant taste or texture of linseed discernible. I will definitely be adding this to my repertoire. A delicious, moist cake. Simple to make and vegan too. Fab.
17th Jul, 2020
Has anyone frozen this?
lulu_grimes's picture
24th Jul, 2020
Hi, The sponge around the pears would turn soggy as the pears defrost so we wouldn't advise it. Lulu
8th Apr, 2017
Can the linseeds be substituted for chia seeds? Many thanks!
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Apr, 2017
Chia seeds take on a different consistency once added to liquid. We'd suggest sticking to linseeds or omitting them altogether if you don't want to buy them especially.
6th Dec, 2016
Any advice for making this ahead? Sounds great but too much work to do immediately before serving!
22nd Jan, 2018
Hi whispertoamy, I was going to have the same problem and as the goodfood team have offered a non-vegan recipe here as a make ahead I thought I'd just let you know what I did to make the whole process quicker on the day! I prepped a lot of it in advance so it could be cooking whilst my guests were eating the main - I poached the pears, - reduced the syrup, - weighed out all of my dry ingrediets and - prepared the date paste all the day before then just mixed the wet and dry, assembled and bunged it in the oven on the day.
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Dec, 2016
Thanks for your question. This dessert isn't ideal for making ahead but we do have a make-ahead chocolate pear pudding which you might like to try.
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