This popular dessert became famous in restaurants and cafes before people began making it in their own kitchens. Homely and decadently sweet, it's also low on fuss and requires only a few ingredients that aren't pantry staples (fresh dates and cream).
200 g (7 oz/1¼ cups) chopped pitted fresh dates
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
80 g (2¾ oz) butter, softened
150 g (5½ oz/¾ cup, lightly packed) light brown sugar
150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) self-raising flour
Thickened (whipping) cream, to serve
75 g (2¾ oz) butter
185 g (6½ oz/1 cup, lightly packed) light brown sugar
185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) pouring (whipping) cream
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 6-hole 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) large muffin tin and line the bases with small rounds of non-stick baking paper.
2. Put the dates and 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water in a small saucepan over medium–high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium–low and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the bicarbonate of soda and then set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and beat well. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to gently stir in the flour and the date mixture until just combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin holes. Bake for 30 minutes or until the puddings are risen and just firm to the touch (they will still be slightly sticky in the middle). Immediately run a palette knife around the side of each pudding to loosen it from the tin and then turn them out onto a wire rack.
4. Meanwhile, to make the butterscotch sauce, stir the butter, sugar and cream in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Place the warm puddings on serving plates. Drizzle with the hot butterscotch sauce and serve immediately, accompanied by the cream.