Sticky Date and Pear Pudding with Caramel Sauce

15 minutes + 2 hours 30 minutes Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 410g can pear slices in juice, drained
  • 250g dried pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 150g butter, at room temperature, chopped
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 300ml cream
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Method

1. Grease a 2-litre (8 cup) pudding basin. Line base with baking paper. Place pears on paper towels and pat dry. Arrange pears over base of prepared pudding basin.

2. Combine dates and boiling water in a heat-proof bowl. Add baking soda and stand for 10 minutes. Process in a food processor until pureed. Add butter and process until smooth. Add sugar, mixed spice and eggs; processing until combined. Add flour and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Pour mixture into prepared basin, taking care not to disturb the pear.

3. Cover basin with lid or two layers of foil and secure with kitchen string. Place an upturned heat-proof saucer in the base of a large saucepan. Add enough boiling water to come three-quarters up the side of pudding basin. Place pudding basin on a saucer in the saucepan. Simmer, covered, for 2½ hours or until a skewer inserted in to the centre comes out clean, topping up with boiling water as necessary. Carefully remove pudding from water. Stand in basin for 10 minutes.

4. To make the caramel sauce, combine butter, sugar and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves.

5. Turn out pudding on to a plate. Drizzle a little sauce over pudding. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.

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