Chocolate Date Pudding with Bourbon Toffee Sauce

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g dates
  • 250ml water
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 100g salted butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbl (15ml) bourbon (optional. Replace with cooled espresso coffee if you wish)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Bourbon Toffee Sauce

  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 75g butter
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 15ml (half a shot) of bourbon (adjust to taste)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Butter and line 8 x 200ml pudding basins or ramekins.
  2. Place the dates, water and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat immediately and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the dates are soft. Leave to cool completely.
  3. Place the cooled date mixture (plus the liquid) in a food processor along with the butter, vanilla extract, bourbon/coffee and eggs and blend until combined. You can process the dates until smooth if you wish but I prefer leaving some date chunks just for texture in the pudding.
  4. Scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl. In two batches, sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder into the mixture and fold gently until combined.
  5. Divide amongst the pudding basins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the skewer emerges fairly cleanly when inserted into the centre.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to rest. In the meantime, place all the ingredients for the toffee sauce in a pan and simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved and the sauce is smooth. Keep warm and stir every now and then to prevent a skin from forming.
  7. When cool enough to handle, invert puddings onto plates and removing baking paper. Serve warm with toffee sauce and some pouring/double cream if you wish.
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