We've adapted a recipe by Neil Perry for this take on a classic sticky date pudding.
- 450 ml milk
- 375 gm pitted dates, coarsely chopped
- Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 120 gm softened butter
- 220 gm caster sugar (1 cup)
- 3 eggs
- 225 gm self-raising flour, sieved (1½ cups)
- Pinch each of ground allspice and ground cinnamon
- 80 gm sesame seeds
- 500 ml milk (2 cups)
- 3 tsp tahini
- 250 ml pouring cream (1 cup)
- 6 egg yolks
- 120 gm caster sugar
- 275 gm caster sugar
- 180 ml pouring cream
- 50 gm unsalted butter
- 1For sesame ice-cream, preheat oven to 170C. Spread sesame seeds on an oven tray and roast, stirring occasionally, until light golden (3-5 minutes). Transfer to a saucepan (reserve 1 tsp for serving), add milk and tahini, stir to combine and bring to the boil. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate to infuse (2 hours). Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, add cream and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale. Add cream mixture and stir to combine, then return to pan and stir continuously over low heat until mixture coats a wooden spoon thickly (5-10 minutes). Transfer to a chilled bowl placed over ice and stir occasionally until cool, then freeze in an ice-cream machine. Freeze until required. Makes about 1 litre.
- 2For salted caramel, combine sugar and 100ml water in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, then brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush and cook until dark caramel (10-15 minutes). Add cream, butter and ½ tsp fine sea salt (be careful as hot caramel will spit), stir until dissolved (1 minute) and set aside.
- 3Combine milk, dates and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil, remove from heat, add bicarbonate of soda and set aside to cool (1 hour).
- 4Preheat oven to 175C. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, spices and date mixture and mix to just combine. Divide among 6 buttered and floured 9cm-diameter cake tins, tap tins on bench to level, then bake on a tray, turning tray occasionally, until cakes are golden and spring back when touched (30-40 minutes). Cool slightly, then turn out onto plates or serve warm in tins, with a scoop of sesame ice-cream topped with salted caramel (see note) and scattered with reserved sesame seeds.
If salted caramel has cooled and become too thick, reheat it to drizzling consistency over low heat.
Drink Suggestion: Good Rutherglen topaque. Drink suggestion by Max Allen