Recipe for South African classic – Spiced Cape Brandy Pudding, otherwise known as Tipsy Tart
150g solid packed dates, chopped
150g Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250ml boiling water
130g butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup demerara sugar
1/4 cup treacle syrup
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (100g) chopped pecan nuts
Brandy soaking sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, roughly broken
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds removed
Preheat the oven to 180º C. Grease a large (22cm x 35cm) oven-proof baking dish. Place the dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof bowl.
Pour the boiling water over the dates and stir through. Set aside for at least 10 minutes for the dates to soften and cool. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, demerara sugar and treacle syrup.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt. Beat on a low speed to combine. Fold through the soaked dates and pecan nuts.
Spoon into the prepared dish and bake for about 50-55 minutes.
Before removing from the oven, always check with a skewer for doneness.
In the meanwhile, make the syrup. Place the butter, granulated sugar, water, cinnamon sticks and vanilla seeds and pod in a small saucepan. Bring up to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce slightly. Remove from the heat and add a pinch of salt and the brandy.
Pour the hot syrup over the tart as soon as it comes out of the oven. Serve the brandy pudding warm with softly whipped cream, custard or vanilla bean ice cream.