These moist and sticky mini steamed puds will go down a treat after a delicious Sunday roast

Makes 4
Ready in 1 hour 20 minutes

115g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
115g caster sugar
2 medium eggs beaten
115g self-raising flour
1tsp ground mixed spice
55g ready-to-eat dates, chopped
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1tbsp milk

For the caramel sauce:
50g unsalted butter
75g brown sugar
75ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5. Lightly grease 4 x 175-200ml oven- proof ramekin dishes (or metal pudding basins) with the extra butter. Line the base of each with a circle of baking paper.

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a spoonful of the flour if the mixture begins to curdle. Sift over the rest of the flour and mixed spice and fold in until thoroughly combined. Fold in the dates, vanilla bean paste and milk.

Divide the mixture between the prepared dishes and cover each with a square of pleated baking paper then pleated foil and secure with fine kitchen string. Place the dishes in a deep roasting tin and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for about 50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.

To make the caramel sauce, gently heat the butter and sugar in a small pan, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Simmer for 1-2 minutes until syrupy then remove from the heat and stir in the cream to make a smooth sauce. Turn the puddings out onto warmed plates and spoon over the sauce.

A little goes a long way:
Vanilla bean paste has a very intense flavour so use sparingly. If unavailable use 1tsp vanilla extract. For a change of flavor why not try 1-2 tsp coffee extract instead. Serve with pouring cream or a dollop of vanilla ice cream to make them extra indulgent.

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