For the pudding
225g Medjool dates, stoned and chopped
175ml beer or ale. We love using St Austell Brewery – Tribute
175 self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2 eggs, beaten
85g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
140 demerara sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
For the sauce
175g light muscovado sugar
225ml double cream
1 tbsp black treacle
Preheat oven to 180c
In a saucepan, warm the ale gently over a low heat. Put the dates in a bowl and pour over the warmed ale. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for approximately 30 minutes. Then blend until smooth with a hand blender. While the dates are soaking you can prepare the ramekins and make the pudding.
Grease and flour seven ramekins (each about 200ml) and sit them on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix the self-raising flour, ground spices and bicarbonate of soda. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, before slowly adding the beaten eggs. Beat in the black treacle. Then, using a large metal spoon, gently fold in one-third of the flour mix, then half of the milk, being careful not to over beat. Repeat until all the flour mix and milk has been used.
Stir the date puree into the pudding batter. Spoon the batter between the tins and bake for approx. 20 – 25 minutes, until risen and firm.
Now make the sauce. Put the light muscovado sugar and butter into a medium saucepan with half the double cream. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir through the black treacle, turn up the heat slightly and let the mixture bubble away for 2 – 3 minutes until it is a rich toffee colour, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the rest of the double cream.
Remove the puddings from the oven. Leave in the tins for a few minutes, then loose well from the sides and turn out carefully.
To serve, spoon a little of the sauce into the bottom of each bowl, and top with a warm pudding. Gently coat the sponge with extra sauce. Best served with clotted cream for extra luxury.