If we had to pick the most perfect winter dessert, it would be hard to look past a sticky date pudding. There is good reason that the classic sticky date pudding has been around for what seems likes forever. Warm, fluffy yet textural on the palette, cosie and comforting... it's as good as cosing up on the couch with your favourite blanket on a cold winter's day. Add to that the beautiful sweetness of an intense caramel sauce.. could it possibly get any better?

While we don't like to play around too much with the great classics, we have taken things a step further and added a beautiful balsamic glaze to our caramel sauce, and the spicy aromas of cinnamon and ginger, which we think take this already amazing dessert to a whole new level.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Pudding

250g dried dates, pitted & roughly chopped

300ml orange juice

1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

90g unsalted butter, at room temperature

180g brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

220g self raising flour, sifted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

 

Balsamic Caramel Sauce

300g brown sugar

75g butter

300ml thickened cream

1 tablespoon Antichi Colli Balsamic Glaze

 

Pecans and vanilla ice cream, to serve.

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.

The pudding can be made as a whole cake. Or it can be made in individual baking ramekins. If making a whole cake, grease and line a 20cm x 20cm cake tin. If using individual ramekins, grease each ramekin liberally with unsalted butter, and a light sprinkling of flour.

For the pudding:

2. Bring the dates and the orange juice to the boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the bi-carbonate soda. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

3. Cream the butter and brown sugar until pale and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla bean paste. Fold in flour, cinnamon, ginger and date mixture.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin or ramekins. If using a cake tin, bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. If using individual ramekins, bake for 20 minutes. Allow the pudding to stand in the tin or ramekins for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.

For the sauce:

5. Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a medium saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 8-10 minutes on medium heat, or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.

6. Place a piece of pudding on a serving dish and drizzle with a generous amount of warm balsamic caramel sauce. Top with pecans, and serve with vanilla ice-cream.

Food photography, story and recipe creation by Effi Tsoukatos & Caterina Sterrantino for the Sydney Food Sisters