Date and chocolate sponge pudding

PUBLISHED: 11:04 14 December 2006 | UPDATED: 14:55 12 May 2010

Ingredients: 175g (6oz) stoned dates 150ml fresh orange juice 50g (2oz) white chocolate 75g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened 150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar 2 eggs 150g (5oz) self-raising flour 25g (1oz) cocoa powder 12 tsp bicarbonate of soda grated rind

Ingredients:

175g (6oz) stoned dates

150ml fresh orange juice

50g (2oz) white chocolate

75g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened

150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar

2 eggs

150g (5oz) self-raising flour

25g (1oz) cocoa powder

12 tsp bicarbonate of soda

grated rind of one orange

Method

This rich pudding is steamed in a bowl and looks rather like a Christmas pudding when turned out.

Grease a 2 pint pudding basin well. Chop the dates roughly and put in a small pan with the orange juice. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 5 minutes, leave to cool.

Chop the white chocolate into chunks. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and beat well. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate and cocoa and fold in lightly. Remove one tablespoonful of dates from the orange juice mixture and keep aside, add the rest of the dates and the juice to the sponge mixture as well as the grated orange rind. Stir in the chocolate, mix well and turn into the greased pudding bowl. Cover with greaseproof paper and foil, secure with string or a rubber band. Put the bowl in a steamer over boiling water, cover and steam for 2 hours. If you don't have a steamer, put an oven-proof saucer in the bottom of a large pan, put the pudding on top, fill with boiling water to half-way up the side of the pudding basin and simmer gently, covered.

Turn the pudding out onto a serving plate and top with the reserved dates. Enough for six helpings, served with custard or cream.

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