Still everyone’s favourite dessert, this is an absolute classic. Delicious served with chilled pouring cream or good vanilla ice cream.
- 175g (6oz) stoned dates, roughly chopped
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g (3oz) unsalted butter
- 175g (6oz) caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ½tsp pure vanilla extract
- 225g (8oz) self-raising flour, sifted
- 225g (8oz) dark soft brown sugar
- 100g (4oz) unsalted butter
- 300ml (1/2pt) double cream
- 8 x 200ml (7fl oz) individual metal pudding basins
Butter and flour the basins. Preheat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4. Place the dates in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and 300ml (½pt) boiling water. Stir well and set aside.
Place the butter and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat well until smooth and fluffy.
Beat the eggs with the vanilla extract and pour in a steady stream onto the butter and sugar mixture, beating continuously. Don't be alarmed if the mixture looks curdled at this stage - it will all come together when you add the flour.
Add the flour and beat well, then pour in the dates and all the liquid; mix well. Divide the mixture evenly among the pudding basins and place on the middle shelf of the oven.
Cook for 20 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Press the centre of the puddings lightly; if the sponge springs back, they are cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto 8 warmed plates.
While the puddings are resting, make the sauce: place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is smooth. Pour a couple of spoonfuls over each pudding and serve the rest in a warm jug.