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Date puddings with sesame ice-cream and salted caramel

These rich little puddings have been adapted from one of Neil Perry's classic sticky date recipes to feature a deliciously surprising sesame hit.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking (plus cooling, infusing, and freezing)
  • Makes 6
  • Print
Photo: Chris Court
Combining classic sticky date pudding warmth and spice with a cool sesame ice cream, this pudding will transport your tastebuds to the fragrant Middle East. Add a drizzle of salted caramel, and this pudding and ice-cream combination are a match made in heaven.


  • 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 (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 225 gm self-raising flour, sieved
  • Pinch each of ground allspice and ground cinnamon
Sesame ice-cream
  • 80 gm sesame seeds
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 3 tsp tahini
  • 250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 120 gm caster sugar
Salted caramel
  • 275 gm caster sugar
  • 180 ml pouring cream
  • 50 gm unsalted butter


  • 1
    For 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.
  • 2
    For 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 wet pastry brush and cook until dark caramel (10-15 minutes). Add cream, butter and half a teaspoon of fine sea salt (be careful, hot caramel will spit), stir until dissolved (1 minute) and set aside.
  • 3
    Combine 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).
  • 4
    Preheat 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-diametre cake tins, tap tins on bench to level, then bake on a tray, turning 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 sesame seeds.


Note: if caramel has cooled and become too thick, reheat it to drizzling consistency over low heat.