For the sponge:
- 175g dates, chopped
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 200ml boiling water
- 100ml brandy (or just use 300ml boiling water/weak tea)
- 50g unsalted butter, softened
- 80g light brown sugar
- 80g dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 175g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves (clavo de comer)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 75g walnuts
- Pinch of salt
For the sauce:
- 115g unsalted butter
- 75g caster sugar
- 40g dark brown sugar
- 140ml heavy cream or all purpose cream
- Pinch of salt
Mama’s Guide instructions:
Prepare a large pan of water for steaming and a buttered pudding basin dont forget to put cover or foil when steaming.
Roast the walnuts for 5-10 minutes in an 180°C oven – optional, turning the oven on just for this part feels a bit wasteful, but gently roasted nuts do add a nicer flavour than raw nuts. Might as well roast it slightly in a pan and set it aside after.
Put the dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof dish, pour over the boiling water and add the brandy if using. Leave to soften while you make the batter.
Beat together the butter, sugar and salt with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla essence to the eggs and beat them into the mixture a little at a time. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and spices and then fold these into the mixture until just combined. Add the dates with their soaking liquid and the walnuts, and mix well. The batter will be a little looser than regular cake batter.
Pour the batter into your buttered basin up to about halfway (or as your basin indicates), to give the pudding room to rise. Seal the basin with its lid, or prepared pleated foil and parchment.
Cover the pan with a lid, or foil and steam for 30 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Make the sauce by putting all the ingredients into a pan with a pinch of salt and heating slowly until the butter has melted, then turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Boil for about 4 minutes, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
When the pudding is ready turn it out onto a dish to serve. Poke a few holes in the sponge and pour over the sauce. Serve in bowls as it is, or with ice cream or custard. Drizzle with Chocolate Syrup! Enjoy!