1 1/2 cups chopped dried pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
2 cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 1/2-ounces dark chocolate, grated
Butter, for coating ramekins
Ice cream or whipped cream, for garnish
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
14 tablespoons butter
Fresh figs, quartered, for garnish
Vanilla ice cream, optional
Whipped heavy cream, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the dates, dried figs and water to a medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then add to a blender and puree.
Using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and beat well. Fold in the flour, the pureed date mixture and the chocolate.
Put the mixture into 4 buttered, 1-cup individual ramekins, filling halfway or slightly under. Put in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Prepare the sauce by stirring the sugar, cream and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until incorporated.
Remove the ramekins from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. May be served in the ramekin or unmolded onto a small serving plate. With paring knife cut a cross in the top of the puddings for the sauce.
Pour the sauce into the cross in the center of each pudding, then pour more sauce over the puddings and it allow to soak in slightly. Top with fresh figs and vanilla ice cream or heavily whipped cream. Serve warm.