8 oz. pitted dates, chopped
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2oz/56g) butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup self-rising flour
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, grated
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) butter
Confectioners' sugar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter (or use cooking spray) and line with parchment paper an 8-inch round or square cake pan. Butter (or use cooking spray) parchment paper also.
2. Place the pitted and chopped dates and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Remove date/water mixture from heat, stir in the baking soda (mixture will foam up), and let stand for 5 minutes. Purée date mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
4. With an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
5. With a wooden spoon fold in the flour, the puréed date mixture, followed by the grated chocolate.
6. Pour the mixture into prepared cake pan (or you may use six to eight individual ramekins, pudding molds or muffin tins). Bake in preheated 350 degree F (180 C) oven for 55 minutes or 25 minutes for individual puddings.
7. Prepare the sauce by placing the cream, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Remove the pudding from oven and let stand for 10 minutes in pan. Leave oven on. Turn pudding out onto a baking sheet. Pour over enough of the sauce to cover the top of the pudding. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
9. Dust the pudding with confectioners' sugar. Cut pudding into squares or wedges and pour remaining sauce over slices of pudding. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche.
This pudding can be kept for 1 week in the refrigerator. Heat single slices with sauce poured over in the microwave on High (100% power) for approximately 1 minute.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2005
Date: December 20, 2005