This is a good old English pudding which is made all over the country. I think this recipe originated with Francis Coulson of Sharrow Bay in Ullswater, and it works better than any of the other recipes I have tried. The best dates to use are Medjool, which come from India; they are plump and meaty, with almost a treacle taste.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and grease a
Boil the dates in the water for about 5 minutes until soft, then add the bicarbonate of soda. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the dates, flour and vanilla essence then pour into the greased baking tin and cook in the pre-heated oven for about 30–40 minutes until just firm to the touch.
To make the sauce, simply place all the ingredients in a pan over a low heat and stir together until blended, then bring to the boil. Some of this can be poured over the sponge and finished under the grill, or it can be kept totally separate and ladled over the sponge when portioned. Good, fresh, thick cream is just right for this pudding.
© 1994 Gary Rhodes. All rights reserved.