Sticky Date and Walnut Puddings with Salted Butterscotch Sauce

It seems that winter has definitely arrived in Adelaide this week, which means lots of warm casseroles, soups and delicious puddings for dessert! This recipe is my take on a sticky date pudding, while still keeping it traditional. I adapted the ingredients and method from a recipe brought out by The Australian Women's Weekly, on page 614 of their book, Cook. However, rather than blending all the ingredients together in a food processor, which is indicated in their recipe, I wanted to keep the dates in pieces and fold them through the mixture along with the flour - making a lighter, more fluffier cake.

The cake itself isn't too sweet, which compliments the sweetness of the butterscotch sauce well. In addition to this, adding a little salt to the butterscotch sauce really enhances the flavour of the caramel. Walnuts and dates go beautifully together, and the walnuts also add another texture and depth of flavour to the pudding. 

The thing I love about this pudding is that it can be made a day ahead, along with the sauce, and stored in the fridge. The pudding can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, which is a handy when you have leftovers. 

Sticky Date and Walnut Puddings with Salted Butterscotch Sauce

Makes 12 muffin-sized puddings

1 1/4 cups dried dates, chopped into small pieces

1 1/4 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

50g butter

1/2 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1 cup plain flour (I used gluten-free flour, which worked beautifully)

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

Salted Butterscotch Sauce

3/4 cup brown sugar

300ml cream

80g butter

A pinch of salt, to your taste

1. Preheat oven to 160˚C (fan-forced). Brush 12 non-stick muffin pans with melted butter.

2. Combine the dates, bicarb soda and water in a bowl. Set aside to soften for about 10 minutes. Once softened, roughly mash the dates with a fork.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time.

4. Using a spatula, fold in the date mixture, along with the sifted flour and baking powder. Gently stir in chopped walnuts until just combined.

5. Spoon mixture into prepared pans and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the surfaces spring back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then remove individual puddings onto a wire rack to cool slightly.

6. To make the sauce: Combine butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan and stir over low heat until sauce is smooth. Add a pinch of salt to taste. 

 

Serve warm puddings with a drizzling of the sauce and top with double cream.