- 75g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 180g medjool dates, stones removed, finely chopped
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 75g light muscovado sugar
- 2 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 180g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the toffee sauce
- 125g unsalted butter
- 80g dark soft brown sugar
- 40g golden caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 200ml double cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease a 2.5 litre ovenproof dish and set aside. Put the dates in a bowl and cover with 275ml hot water. Sprinkle in the bicarbonate of soda and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Beat the butter and sugars together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually whisk in the eggs, beating well between each addition.
- Sift over the flour and baking powder and fold in, then mix in the date mixture with its water. The mixture will be very wet but don’t worry. Pour into the greased dish and bake for 30-35 minutes until the sponge is just coming away from the sides of the dish.
- Meanwhile make the sauce. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the sugars and vanilla pod, then stir well until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cream and bring up to a vigorous simmer, then bubble for 5 minutes.
- Once the pudding is done, pour over the hot toffee sauce and serve in generous portions.
- You can make the sponge and sauce the day before (keeping them chilled and separate) to allow the flavours to mellow and mingle. Wrap the sponge in cling film and cover the cooled toffee sauce. Heat the sponge through in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Warm through the toffee sauce, then pour over the hot sponge. The finished sponge can be frozen. Wrap well in cling film, then foil and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature and heat through in an oven, then top with freshly made toffee sauce.