You will need:
- 125g/4½oz dates, stones removed, chopped
- 75ml/2¾fl oz water
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 50g/1¾oz butter, unsalted, plus extra for greasing
- 175g/6oz demerara sugar
- 2 free-range eggs, beaten
- 100g/3½oz mincemeat
- 1 tbsp chopped glacé cherries
- 175g/6oz self-raising flour
and for the source:
- 150g/5½oz butter
- 150g/5½oz soft dark brown sugar
- 150ml/5½fl oz double cream, plus extra to serve
- 100g/3½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), grated
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Heat the dates, water and bicarbonate of soda in a saucepan over a low heat until simmering, stirring well to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the dates break down into a paste. Remove the date mixture from the heat and set aside to cool a little.
Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then mix in the eggs, cooleddate mixture, mincemeat and glacé cherries until well combined. Do this a little at a time, starting with the eggs and beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in gently. Grease six 100ml/4fl oz pudding basins with butter and line the bottom with a disc of greaseproof paper. Divide the batter among the six pudding basins, then place the pudding basins into a roasting tin and bake for 25- 30 mins, or until until well-risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the butter, sugar and cream together over a high heat for 5-6 minutes, or until it is a smooth mixture. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated chocolate until smooth. To serve, turn the puddings out onto each of six serving plates, spoon the sauce on top and drizzle over some cream.
I first saw a variant of this cooked by Simon Rimmer on “Something for the Weekend”. You don’t have to just keep it as a Christmas dish, though.