Ingredients for the Pudding
- 200g/ 7oz dates, pitted
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g / 3 1/2oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 200g/ 7oz soft dark brown sugar
- 3 free-range eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g/7oz plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
Ingredients for the toffee sauce
- 120g/4oz unsalted butter
- 130g/4oz light soft brown sugar
- 100g/3 1/2oz dark brown sugar
- 500ml / 18fl oz double cream
Ingredients for the custard
- 200ml/ 7floz Double Cream
- 50ml/2fl oz whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 free-range egg yolks
- 75g/ 21/2 oz caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in square cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
- Place the dates and 150ml/5fl oz water in a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes, until softened and beginning to break down. Allow to cool slightly, then blend to a paste in a food processor. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, cream the butter and soft dark brown sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and baking powder and, finally, the cooled date mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes, or until cooked through. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out fairly clean.
- Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce. Slowly melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the sugars and stir until dissolved. Finally, stir in the cream and simmer for 3 minutes.
- To make the custard, heat the cream, milk and vanilla extract in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan until bubbles form at the edges. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Slowly pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Gradually add the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring all the time, until thickened (the mixture should coat the back of a spoon).
- To serve, turn the pudding out onto a plate and pour over half of the toffee sauce, reserving the rest to be served in a jug alongside. Cut into squares and serve with extra toffee sauce and custard.