I normally make individual puddings but you can also make one big one.
- 150 g butter (at room temperature, plus extra for greasing)
- 175 g stoned dates (preferably medjool)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 175 g light muscovado sugar
- 175 g self-raising flour (plus extra for greasing)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- for the caramel sauce:
- 300 g caster sugar
- 250 ml cream
- 75 g unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla pod (split with seeds scraped out)
- fresh mint sprigs, to decorate
- whipped cream or toffee ice cream, to serve
- I normally make individual puddings but you can also make one big one. This quantity will fill a 25 x 18cm (10 x 7in) buttered non-stick baking tin that is at least 2.5cm (1in) deep. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch. If you are worried about the puddings sticking to the dariole moulds, try lining the bottom of each one with a circle of non-stick baking parchment. This will guarantee perfect results every time.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and lightly butter and flour 8 x 150ml (1/4 pint) dariole moulds.
- Place the dates in a pan with 300ml (1/2 pint) water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until softened.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda until the mixture stops foaming.
- Leave to cool a little, then tip into a food processor or liquidiser and blend for 2 minutes to a thick purée.
- Place the butter and muscovado sugar in a bowl and cream together for a few minutes until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer.
- Add one tablespoon of flour and then slowly add the beaten egg, beating well to combine.
- Fold in the remaining flour with a metal spoon and finally fold in the date purée with the vanilla extract.
- Divide the pudding mixture among the prepared dariole moulds and arrange on a baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch.
- When the puddings are cooked, remove from the oven and, after 5 minutes turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the caramel sauce, place the caster sugar in a pan with 300ml (1/2 pint) of water.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Stir in the cream, butter and vanilla seeds until well combined, then continue to cook gently for another 8-10 minutes until shiny and thickened.
- To serve, arrange the puddings on serving plates. Pour over some of the caramel sauce, then flash under a grill until bubbling, if liked.
- Add a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream and serve the remainder of the caramel sauce separately, hot or cold.
More by Neven Maguire:
- Caramelised Pork Belly, Neven Maguire, Today show
- Moroccan Lamb Tagine: Alternative Easter dinner
- Fragrant Pork, Thai Red Curry: Neven Maguire