Updated: Feb 7, 2022
by Tim Bilton from Bilton Basics (RMC Books)
photography: David Walker
Now a commonplace item on menus everywhere, this recipe comes from the legendary Sharrow Bay Hotel in the Lake District, and a great chef in Francis Coulson.
100g butter (salted or unsalted)
300g caster sugar
2 beaten eggs
300g chopped dates
2 tsp bicarbonate of Soda
500ml boiling water
400g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
450ml of ready to use toffee sauce, or make your own sauce, as per Tim Bilton’s Butterscotch Sauce recipe below.
Vanilla ice cream (or hazelnut)
Place the chopped dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (Nigel says “Don’t worry if it remains grainy, rather than fluffy”).
Gradually add the beaten eggs mixing well.
Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder together and gradually add to the creamed butter and sugar mix.
Gradually add the soaked date mixture to the above mixture, make sure you combine everything well and allow to rest for half an hour.
Spoon the mixture into a greased baking tin, or ovenproof dish (approx. 26cm x 15cm x 5cm) and cook at 180C/160CFan/Gas mark 4) for 30-35 mins until risen and set, with no wobble in the middle. Check after 30 mins & bake for longer than 35 mins if necessary.
Alternatively, spoon the mixture into 6 individual greased pudding moulds or ramekins and cook at 180°C/160CFan/Gas mark 4 for 15-20 mins until risen and set, with no wobble in the middle. (Longer than 20mins if necessary.)
Serve with a generous portion of ice cream and Butterscotch Sauce.
185g butter (salted or unsalted)
185g demerara sugar
375g double cream
10g black treacle
Melt the butter in a pan.
Add the sugar.
Add the cream & bring to the boil.
Add a splash of black treacle & bring back to the boil.
Remove from the heat & serve.
with Tim (centre) & Jean-Christophe Novelli