We are going to cook a tender dessert to the festive table which will definitely surprise your guests and family!
- 300g (2 cups) pitted dried dates, coarsely chopped
- 375ml (11/2 cups) boiling water
- 11/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 125g butter, at room temperature, chopped
- 160g (1 cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 225g (11/2 cups) self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Maple syrup, to drizzle
- 50g (1/3 cup) custard powder
- 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
- 500ml (2 cups) milk
- 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
For brown sugar meringue
- 3 egg whites
- 120g (2/3 cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Meanwhile add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the date mixture. Sift over the flour and ginger and stir until combined.
Preheat oven to 170C. Grease a 7cm-deep, 20cm square cake pan. Line with baking paper, allowing sides to overhang. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Set aside, still in the pan, for 30 minutes or until cooled slightly.
For the custard, combine the custard powder and caster sugar in a small saucepan. Gradually add the milk, stirring until smooth, then add the cream. Stir over medium-low heat until the custard comes to the boil and thickens. Simmer, stirring for 30 seconds.
Use the end of a round-handled wooden spoon to quickly poke holes in the cake. Pour half the custard over the cake and into the holes. Then use a spatula to spread custard into the holes and a little over the top. Reserve remaining custard, pressing plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin forming.
For the meringue, increase the oven temperature to 220C. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the brown sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition until the sugar dissolves. Lift the cake out of the pan. Transfer to a baking tray. Spread with the meringue and bake for 2-3 minutes or until just browned. Pout with maple syrup and remaining custard and serve.