4 1 tblsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar (or slightly less)
1/4 c. lightly packed
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour + 2 tsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. pitted dates (I use more, closer to 1 3/4 c.)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tblsp. unsalted butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 tblsp. heavy cream
[optional] A couple tblsp. molasses
For the Batter:
Preheat oven to 350º. Use an electric mixer to combine the butter
and white & brown sugar, beating at medium speed until fluffy.
Sift the 1 1/2 c. flour with the baking powder. Add the beaten egg
and about 1/2 c. of the flour mixture to the sugar & butter.
Blend it, then add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until
blended. The batter will be very crumbly.
Oil a 9-by-9-inch cake pan (square or round). In a bowl, combine
the dates with the remaining 2 tsp. flour, and toss to coat. In a
food processor, finely chop the dates, then return them to the
bowl and cover with 1 c. boiling water.
Add baking soda and vanilla to the batter. Stir. then add the
date mixture and blend. Transfer to the cake pan and bake about 35
minutes until dry in the center. Remove from the oven and keep it
For the Sauce:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the brown
sugar and heavy cream (and optional molasses). Simmer until golden
brown, about 3 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Option 1: Cut the warm pudding into squares
& cover with a spoonful of toffee sauce. Option 2: Put the
whole pudding on an oven-proof serving plate and cover with toffee
sauce. Put the pudding (in either format) under the broiler just
until the sauce bubbles. Do not allow it to overcook. Remove and
serve immediately, with either whipped cream or ice cream.
Source: Paul (adapted from Francis Coulson's original recipe)