for the sticky date pudding
160g fresh pitted dates
250 ml (1 cup) water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
100g unsalted butter
140g unrefined rapadura sugar
2 organic eggs
150g (1 cup) spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
for the toffee sauce
100g salted butter
160g unrefined rapadura sugar
250ml thin pouring cream
Pre-heat oven to 180C (convention)/160C (fan-forced/convection). Grease a 16x26cm base measurement loaf tin with butter and line with baking paper with the paper hanging over the sides.
Put dates and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cook for 3-8 minutes until pulpy. Remove from heat, add bicarbonate of soda, mix well and rest for 20 minutes.
Cream sugar and butter for the pudding in an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add eggs and beat until pale and creamy.
Use a metal spoon to fold date mixture into the egg mixture. Add flour and baking powder (or just *self-raising flour if using that – see notes) and fold until just combined.
Spoon batter into the prepared tin. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 35 minutes until risen and cooked through when tested with a skewer down the middle. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit.
To prepare the toffee sauce, put butter and sugar for the sauce in a small saucepan. Cook on medium until butter is melted. Add cream. Bring to just a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until smooth and golden. Remove from heat.
Pour toffee sauce over the warm pudding as required and serve with fresh cream or ice cream on the side.
*For a lighter and fluffier pudding – You can substitute spelt flour and baking powder for a cup of self raising flour.
For A Gluten Free Version – substitute spelt flour for a 1 cup of rice flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour and use two teaspoons of baking powder instead of one.
If you don’t have rapadura sugar on hand, any other sugar can be used in the same quantities. Rapadura sugar is unrefined and has distinct caramel tones making this pudding less sweet but perfectly balanced with a delicious rich caramel flavour and infinitesimally more wholesome.