Makes 6-8 individual puddings

Hint: they freeze well and dates are usually packed in 200g, so double up the recipe if you wish to.

For this recipe you will need

six 175ml ramekins, small pudding basins or a medium sized muffin pan

100g pitted dates

2 x 2cm (approximate) cubes stem ginger in syrup, drained

10ml tamarind paste

15ml black treacle or golden syrup

100g self-raising flour

15ml ground ginger

5ml ground cinnamon

3ml bicarbonate of soda

1 extra large egg

30g butter, at room temperature, softened, plus extra for greasing

150g soft dark brown sugar

Optional to serve:

30ml pecan or walnuts, roughly chopped

150ml cream, for whipping or creamy yoghurt

For the pudding sauce

150ml cream

75g dark or light soft brown sugar

40g butter

75ml stem ginger syrup (from the jar), if you don’t have enough ginger syrup from the jar make up the volume with golden syrup or use smooth apricot jam

10ml tamarind paste

1ml flaked sea salt

100ml whiskey

To prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C
  2. Grease six 175ml basins or moulds and line the bases with circles of baking paper. Place the moulds on a baking tray.
  3. Put the dates in a heatproof bowl and pour over 150ml boiling water. Set it aside to cool.
  4. Place the dates, the stem ginger, tamarind paste and syrup or treacle into a food processor and blend to a purée.
  5. Add the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, egg, butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the puréed dates and mix by pulsing quickly until well combined. Do not over mix!
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared moulds to about two thirds full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch.

The sauce

  1. Place all of the ingredients except the whiskey into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly until smooth and glossy. (Watch out for splashes and don’t be tempted to touch or taste the sauce as it will be extremely hot.)
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the whiskey

To serve

Carefully loosen the sides of each pudding using a table knife (the puddings will be hot, so wear oven gloves). Turn out onto warmed serving plates and remove the baking paper. Pour a little sauce over each one and put the remaining sauce in a jug. Decorate with chopped nuts and serve immediately.

If making in advance, take all the puddings out of the tins and place in a shallow ovenproof dish cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1-2 minutes until warm. Place on the serving dish and pour some of the warm sauce over OR if you don’t have a microwave or cooking for a crowd, pour over the sauce and bake at 180⁰C for 10 minutes, or until the puddings are warmed through.

I serve a little extra plain whipped cream or creamy yoghurt on the side to counteract the sweetness of the puddings.

You can freeze the puddings on a tray, then wrap them. They will keep frozen for 4-6 months. Defrost to room temperature and heat as above.

The whiskey sauce is divine served on ice cream or with other baked puddings.