I tried this recipe a few years ago when I went up against Paula Deen and Cat Cora on Iron Chef. They won, but this recipe stuck with me and is one of my family’s favorite desserts. Bake it up in one large souffle dish or in individual ramekins. The egg whites help make the top of the pudding crusty while the center remains warm and soft, like a cake.

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  • 2 cups pitted dates (6 ounces)
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 large egg whites
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 375°F and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Coat a -quart soufflé dish or eight 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray.

Place the dates in a saucepan and add ¾ cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the dates are very soft and the water is mostly evaporated. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla and process until well blended. Scrape into a large mixing bowl.

Rinse out the saucepan and add the cream. Bring to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until melted. Pour the chocolate into the date mixture and stir until smooth. Sift together the cocoa powder and flour. Fold into the chocolate-date mixture with a rubber spatula until well mixed. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the date mixture until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish or ramekins and smooth the top with a spatula. If using ramekins, set them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the ramekins for 20 to 25 minutes, the soufflé dish for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the outside of the pudding is set and crusty looking. Cool until the pudding is just warm, and serve with confectioners’ sugar sifted on top.