This recipe makes for a very happy husband...
160g (5 1/2 oz) whole dates, stoned and roughly chopped (or put in a blender) 150ml (2.3 fl oz) boiling water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 90g (3 oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 150g (5 1/2 oz) light muscovado sugar 2 large free-range eggs 2 tablespoons golden syrup 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) whole milk
For the toffee sauce: 225g (8oz) light muscovado sugar 100g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened 275ml (9 1/2 fl oz) double cream 1 tablespoon golden syrup
Put the dates in a mixing bowl with the water. Leave for 30 minutes until cool, then mash with a fork to a rough pulp or blitz in a blender. I blitz them because we prefer a pudding without lumps of date. Stir through the vanilla and set aside.
Butter a 1.2 litre ovenproof dish and set aside. Heat the oven to 170°C/fan150°C/gas 3.
While the dates are soaking, use an electric mixer or wooden spoon to beat the 90g butter and 150g sugar until light and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well before adding the next.
Beat in the syrup, then mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and gently fold in one third using a metal spoon.
Fold in a third of the milk, then repeat until all the flour and milk are used up. Stir the soaked dates, with their liquid, into the batter – it may curdle, but don’t worry. Spoon into the prepared dish. Bake for 50 minutes or until the pudding is risen and firm, and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean (cover with foil after 40 minutes if the edges are browning too much).
Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce. Put the 225g sugar, 100g butter and half the cream in a large, heavy-based pan and heat gently.
When the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat, stir in the syrup and bubble, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the mix is a rich toffee colour. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the rest of the cream. Keep warm.
Leave the pudding to cool for 20 minutes, then skewer it all over and pour over half the sauce. Leave for another 15 minutes, then serve drizzled with the rest of the sauce.
Adapted from a Delicious magazine recipe.