Date puddings with maple syrup and pistachio ice cream.
I'm one of those people who need a little "something" every day. A treat that says "Hey there, lady. I see you getting through your day, kicking goals, being you. And you deserve a special little something." It doesn't always have to be chocolate, but it often is. Sometimes it's just an extra cappuccino from my favourite hole-in-the-wall coffee shop or three too many slices of sashimi. But some days, it has to be pudding.
The comfort of a pudding can make things right in the world in ways that little else can. I love piping hot pudding, the sort you eat so fast you're trying not to burn your freaking face off - a burn that can only be tempered by a healthy dollop of ice cream that melts luxuriously and inappropriately into a pool of puddly pudding goodness.
Maple syrup and pistachio ice cream (makes more than you need for this recipe)
½ cup (125ml) maple syrup
75g caster sugar
8 egg yolks
½ cup shelled pistachios, roughly crushed plus extra to serve
3 eggs, separated
125g butter, melted
1 cup dates, softened in 3-4 tbsp boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
110g (scant ½ cup) caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour, sifted
Icing sugar to dust
To make the ice cream, heat the milk, cream and maple syrup in a saucepan until boiling. Put the sugar and yolks in a large heatproof bowl and mix together until creamy. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then add the boiling cream mixture to the eggs and sugar and stir well. Stir and cook until thickened to the point where it coats the back of the spoon. While still hot, strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Add the crushed pistachios, stir to combine, then allow to cool completely before churning in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease four individual pudding basins or one cup capacity oven proof vessels.
Put the softened dates in a blender and blitz until a puree consistency is achieved. You may need to add additional water, but add very slowly as you don't want this to become watery and a few date chunks here and there won't affect the outcome.
Add the cooled melted butter, egg yolks, date puree and vanilla extract to a bowl and mix well.
Add the caster sugar and egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until firm peaks and the sugar has dissolved. Fold the egg white mixture through the date mixture until combined, then add the flour and stir to combine. Divide the mixture among the serving bowls. Place the bowls in a high-sided roasting tin and pour water into the pan to come two-thirds of the way up the side of the bowls. Place carefully into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Give them a gentle wobble and if they still seem to be wobbling, cook for additional five minute intervals until cooked to your liking.
Dust with icing sugar (optional), top with maple syrup ice cream, scatter over a few extra pistachios, and serve piping hot.