Sticky date pudding was one of the first recipes I ever learnt to make in my early 20's and I still have the recipe that I used to use. But it also included 1 and 1/3 cups of sugar on top of the cup of dates which means a hell of a lot of sugar in one dessert. That's not even taking into account the vanilla ice cream that goes with it!
Knowing what I know now about how sugar affects your immune system, levels of inflammation, insulin resistance, the balance of bacteria in the gut, hormones and negatively impacts almost every health conditions there is, eating that much sugar has become less and less appealing over the past few years.
I also LOVE food and there's no reason not to enjoy the things you love when you can make healthier versions that are not only lower in sugar, but also higher in nutrient dense ingredients.
The caramel is made from tahini which is essentially sesame seed butter. Sesame seeds are a great source of many nutrients including calcium. Unhulled sesame seeds and unhulled tahini has almost 10 times the amount of calcium when compared to hulled sesame seeds, so that's a great option as a calcium source, particularly if you need to avoid dairy foods.
These types if foods still shouldn't be consumed too regularly and definitely aren't a substitute for meals high in good quality proteins, healthy fats and veggies, but they certainly make maintaining a consistently healthy diet over the long term a lot easier.
This recipe has a slightly more fudgy texture to the usual sticky date recipes but if you prefer a more cake like texture, then you could try omitting the pumpkin.
I'm not a huge fan of complicated, time consuming recipes so as always, this is super easy to make and can be made in advance and just reheated when you're ready to eat it.
(GF, DF options)
Sticky Date Pudding
1 cup of fresh dates, roughly chopped
1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2/3 cup spelt flour (or any flour or gluten free flour of your choice)
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 cup steamed and mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
4 TB tahini
2 TB pure maple syrup
2 TB plant based milk or organic full fat cows milk
1 tsp vanilla
Pure dollop cream to serve. Coconut cream or coconut yoghurt could be used if you need it to be dairy free.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and line an approx. 20cm baking dish with baking paper.
Put the dates and bicarb soda into a heat proof bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave to soften while you combine the rest of the ingredients.
For the tahini caramel, combine the ingredients and mix well until combined and set aside.
Put the spelt flour, coconut flour, nuts, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl and combine.
In another bowl combine the egg and lightly whisk, vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup. Add to the flour mixture and combine well. Then add the date mixture and stir through.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and cook until browned and until the top springs back when pressed lightly.
Serve warm with a spoonful of tahini caramel and cream and some fresh berries.