- 125g pitted dates, chopped
- 200ml boiling water
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 125g light brown sugar
- 75g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp treacle
- 50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
For the butterscotch sauce:
- 200g caster sugar
- 50g butter, diced
- 200ml cream
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/gas mark 4). Brush the insides of 8 x 200ml small pudding bowls with some melted butter & then lightly dust with flour
- Place the dates in a pan with the water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes, until the dates are soft. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the date mixture, which will cause it to foam up, then set aside to cool a little. Once slightly cooled place the date mixture in a food processor and blend for 2 minutes, allow to cool in a bowl
- Using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the sugar and butter in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Add the ground ginger along with the flour, treacle and date mixture and beat until evenly combined. Finally, fold in the walnuts.
- Transfer the batter into the greased pudding moulds and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If you think it's becoming too brown close to the end of the cooking time, cover with foil. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
For the butterscotch sauce
- Bring the sugar and 400ml water to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until reduced by a quarter, golden colour and syrupy.
- Add the butter, cream and rum to the caramel, stirring slowly until combined, then simmer gently for another 5 minutes, until thickened. Leave to cool for 10–15 minutes, until thickened a little further
- Pour some of the butterscotch sauce over the warm pudding and put the rest into a jug to serve alongside.