Date and toffee pudding
12 servings

Serve with fresh berries.

MAKE AHEAD: The unadorned puddings can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. The toffee syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 month. To reheat the dessert, warm the puddings in the microwave before dipping them into the reheated syrup.

Ingredients

For the puddings

225g pitted dates 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup hot water

1 1/3 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the toffee syrup

1 cup heavy cream

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Method

For the puddings: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to grease the wells of a standard-size 12-well muffin pan.

Place the dates in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl, then add the baking soda and hot water, stirring to incorporate. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating (medium speed) to incorporate after each addition. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour mixture in two additions, beating on low speed to incorporate. Add the date mixture (including the liquid) in three additions, to form a thick batter.

Divide evenly among the wells of the muffin pan. Bake (middle rack) for about 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the centres comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then run a table knife around the inside edges to help dislodge each pudding, placing them on the rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the toffee syrup: Combine the heavy cream, butter and light brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved to form a creamy syrup. Remove from the heat.

Trim the mounded pudding tops; reserve the trimmings for a snack. Invert the puddings, then use a skewer to poke several holes in each one. Dip each pudding into the toffee syrup, turning them over and over, to make sure they are well coated. Transfer to a large, microwave-safe plate.

Just before serving, heat the toffee-coated puddings in the microwave for 20 seconds on LOW. Serve warm.