I don’t often do “plated” desserts, so this will be fun. It’s kind of fun to play with sauces and squeeze bottles every so often, no? This recipe is adapted from Delia Smith’s Christmas, but why not serve it in July? I can’t think of a reason!
2 cups chopped pitted dates
3/4 boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant espresso
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter
4.5 ounces (2/3 cup) sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
6.25 ounces (1 1/4 cups) flour, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 recipe the toffee sauce
1/2 recipe créme Anglaise or melted vanilla ice cream
walnuts for garnish
Place the dates in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Allow the mixture to cool, then add the vanilla, espresso powder and soda — stir. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter eight 6-ounces ramekins.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle beat the butter and sugar together on medium high speed until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time until they’re fully incorporated, scraping down the sides after each addition occasionally.
Combine the sifted flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk them together. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then fold in the cooled dates. Divide the batter among the ramekins, place them on a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, let them cool five minutes then invert the puddings onto a parchment-covered rack to cool completely. The puddings can hold at this point for several hours or be refrigerated for several days.
To serve, preheat the broiler. Pour about a tablespoon of sauce onto the puddings. Place the puddings under the broiler until the tops are crunchy and the sauce is bubbling. Transfer the puddings to individual serving plates and top with remaining toffee sauce and nuts. Serve with custard sauce dribbled around the edges of the plate.