Sticky, gooey, and sumptuous - this recipe is the business! Originally invented at the Sharrow Bay hotel in the Lake District, this dish has become famous all over the world. This recipe is a variation created by Nigel Barden and it is superb. Serves 4 most generously or 6 who will want more!
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 50g unsalted English butter
- 2 large whole free range eggs
- 200g whole stoned Medjool dates chopped small
- 5g or 1 rounded teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
- 260g freshly kettle boiled water
- 175g self raising flour
- Seeds from inside ½ a vanilla pod or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 450g double cream
- 40g black treacle
- 100g dark soft brown sugar
- The de-seeded vanilla pod if using (waste not want not)
- First boil and then weigh the water - weighing is a lot more accurate than using a measuring jug.
- Carefully add the chopped dates and bi-carbonate of soda (use a large container as the bi-carbonate of soda will make the water fizz up) and leave to soften for around 10 minutes.
- Using the paddle/beater attachment of your mixer, cream the butter & golden caster sugar until they lighten slightly in colour - approx 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla seeds (or extract if using) and turn the mixer down to its slowest speed.
- Sift and add the self raising flour followed immediately by the eggs, gradually add the date water mix. Beat for 2 minutes then using a spatula scrape down and gradually increase the mixer speed to around medium until the mixture is evenly mixed (the mixture will be a loose thick pourable batter-like texture-do not be tempted to add any more flour!)
- Pour the mixture into a buttered and floured 20cmx20cmx6cm square baking dish and bake at 180C or 375F, gas mark 5 (170C for fan ovens) for 30-40 minutes - a knife inserted should come out clean.
- Meanwhile place the double cream, black treacle, de-seeded vanilla pod and dark soft brown sugar in a pan, stirring occasionally, bring to the boil and switch off heat.
- As soon as your pudding comes out of the oven pour over around half of the toffee sauce onto the pudding (having removed the vanilla pod) and place under a pre-heated grill on highest heat to toffeefy the top (cheffy types use a blow torch if desired)
- Serve with the accompanying sauce and a simple vanilla ice cream