Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce – serves 8

250g pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
125g butter, at room temperature
125g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour
Butterscotch Sauce to serve

Required: 22cm square tin, lightly greased and the bottom lined with parchment baking paper

1. Preheat the oven to 190C. (fan 170C).
2. Put the dates in a saucepan with 200ml of boiling water, stir and bring to the boil. Then add the bicarbonate of soda, stir and turn off the heat. Leave the dates to soak until the mixture has cooled slightly.
3. Meanwhile put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with an electric beater. Mix in the eggs one at a time and beat. Then add the vanilla extract and beat again. Finally stir in the flour and then the date mixture.
4. Pour into the prepared tin.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. You can test that it is cooked by putting a skewer into the centre and it should come out clean. If there are crumbs stuck to the skewer pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes.
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then cut into equal sized squares. Put on the serving plates and drizzle with the butterscotch sauce.

Butterscotch Sauce:
50g unsalted butter
110g rich dark brown sugar
125g golden syrup
150ml double cream
1. Put the butter and sugar into a small pot and melt over a low heat stirring constantly.
2. Add the golden syrup and bring to a gentle simmer for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently.
3. Remove from the heat and add the cream. Put the pot back on a low heat and stir constantly for one minute.