Although this is not really a Christmas recipe, fresh purple figs and sticky fresh dates are plentiful at this time of year. Originally this recipe started life as my interpretation of sticky toffee pudding, a great stalwart of rib sticking puddings which is very simple and economical to make thus it appears on many restaurant menus up and down the country. In my version I have not used the dried over sugary dates or figs that are usually employed in this type of desert. I have used the fresh sweet and sticky medjool dates that appear in Asian shops and some supermarket in the autumn, I have paired them with another seasonal favorite over ripe figs that add a great air of richness and a luxuriant quality to this cake.

For a cake for a dinner part desert for 6

200g of fresh medjool dates (stoned weight)

200g fresh over ripe but not moldy figs chopped

250g soft brown sugar or crumbled Indian jaggery (raw cane sugar available form Asian shops)

350g self raising flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

75g butter

1tsp salt

2 eggs

Pre heat the oven to 180OC

Roughly chop the fruit and place in a he put in a heat proof basin add the the salt t the bi-carb. Cover with boiling water and set aside. Next cream the butter and sugary or jaggery together till light and fluffy, adding the eggs one at a time, lastly fold in the flour. Place the fruit mixture in the bowl of a food processor and pulse chop till smooth. Mix the two bowls together well and place in a greased and lined 8 inch cake tine bake in the pre heated oven for 20-25 till a skewer inserted comes out clean. This cake is similar to the much abused sticky toffee pudding but it has a air of luxuriance from the fresh figs and dates

A simple sauce made from maple syrup will push your dessert over the edge, also if you serve a bowl of clotted cream or extra thick jersey cream with it

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