Use large muffin cases if you don’t have individual bowls to make this dessert. I like to use ready frozen prepared dates which I keep in the freezer (see recipe in latest recipe section). It really cuts the time when making recipes such as this one.
1 Place all the dates (from the pudding and sauce) in a pan with all the water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to soak for about 30 minutes or until the dates are soft.
2 Pre-heat the oven to 200°c (180°c fan) gas mark 6 and grease the pudding basins. Place a thin strip of parchment in each bowl so that the ends are visible above the top of the bowls to make removing the puddings easier.
3 To make the sauce, place half the date mixture (weigh to be accurate) in a food processor with the remaining sauce ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.
4 Place 1 tblsp of the sauce in the base of each pudding bowl and place these on a tray in the fridge to cool and set a little. Place the remaining sauce in a small bowl or jug ready to serve with the puddings.
5 Place the remaining dates in the food processor (no need to wash this) along with the oil, banana, lemon juice, blackstrap molasses and 110ml (4 fl oz) of the milk or water. Process until smooth and creamy.
6 Sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the spices and add to the date mixture . Process to combine adding a little more milk if needed until you have a very soft dropping consistency.
7 Divide the mixture between the pudding basins filling each to about 2/3rds full. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the sponge is set and springy to touch.
8 Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tins then turn each out onto a serving plate. Serve with a little more sauce drizzled over and decorated with the crystallised ginger.