Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter baking dishes. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine and place in a small bowl with boiling water and baking soda; set it aside. In a bowl or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top. Remove from oven to a wire rack.
Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, cream and brown sugar in a small saucepan; heat to boiling while consistently stiring. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes.
When buttering the baking dishes, use it at room temperature and feel free to microwave it to a soft but not yet melted consistency. Add a little nutmeg or cinnamon to the flour mixture to give this great bread pudding a lightly kicked up flavor. The sauce ingredients begin at 1 cup of butter.
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