I grew up with date pudding, a dessert my mom often made for Sunday lunch on cold winter days in Cape Town.  She used to serve it with custard or whipped cream and sometimes as a treat with vanilla ice cream.  So, when I saw this recipe by Lisa Featherby, co-founder of Eatable, it took me right back to my childhood!  In principle the recipe of the date pudding is the same but then she added the sesame and tahini ice-cream with salted caramel.  Well, she had me at the salted caramel but I was intrigued by the ice-cream.

It really does make all sense, tahini as you know is grounded sesame seeds and the milk is infused with toasted sesame seeds.  So basically sesame ice cream.  Then bring in the dates and you have yourself a dish with many flavours drawn from Northern Africa.  The ice-cream is so worth making but it does take time and it really is no problem replacing the ice-cream with a good quality vanilla ice cream with a scattering of toasted sesame seeds on top.

It is also worth mentioning that I never throw away my egg whites when making ice-cream!!  I simply place them in a freezer bag into the freezer and thaw them whenever I want to make meringues or a Pavlova.

I hope you will enjoy this winter dessert as much as my family and I did!

Bon appetite!

You’ll need

  • • For the date pudding
  • 450ml x milk, full cream
  • 375g x pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1 x vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped or 1 tsp x vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp x bicarbonate of soda
  • 120g x butter, softened
  • 220g x caster sugar
  • 3 x eggs
  • 225 x self-raising flour (See "Tips" to make your own)
  • Pinch of ground allspice and ground cinnamon
  • • For the sesame ice-cream
  • 80g x sesame seeds
  • 500ml x milk
  • 2 Tbsp x tahini paste
  • 250ml x cream
  • 6 x egg yolks
  • 120g x caster sugar
  • • For the salted caramel
  • 200g x sugar
  • 85g x unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ cup x cream
  • ½ -1 tsp x table sea salt
  • 1 tsp x vanilla extract


  1. For the sesame ice-cream, preheat oven to 170°C. Spread sesame seeds on an oven tray and roast, stirring occasionally, until light golden (3-5 minutes).
  2. Reserve 1 tsp for garnish and transfer the rest to a saucepan. Add milk and tahini, stir to combine and bring to the boil. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate to infuse for 2 hours. (With it being winter, I just put my saucepan outside)
  3. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, add cream and bring to the boil.
  4. Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale. Add cream mixture and stir to combine, then return to pan and stir continuously over low heat until mixture coats a wooden spoon thickly (5-10 minutes). Transfer to a chilled bowl placed over ice and stir occasionally until cool, then freeze in an ice-cream machine. Freeze until required. Makes about 1 litre.
  5. For salted caramel, first measure out all the components so you are ready to go.
  6. Heat the sugar in a medium pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It will form clumps and start to melt into an amber liquid - watch carefully, ensuring it doesn’t catch/burn.
  7. When it is melted and golden-brown, add the butter and whisk until combined. Be careful as the caramel will bubble and steam vigorously.
  8. Drizzle in the cream slowly, again whisking constantly until fully combined. Remove from the heat.
  9. Stir in the vanilla and salt to taste. Leave to cool.
  10. To make the date pudding, combine the milk, dates and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Add bicarbonate of soda and set aside to cool for about 1 hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 175°C. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  12. Add flour, spices and date mixture and mix to just combine.
  13. Divide the mixture among 6 buttered and floured 9cm-diameter cake tins, tap tins on bench to level, then bake on a tray, turning tray occasionally, until cakes are golden and spring back when touched (30-40 minutes). Cool slightly, then turn out onto plates or serve warm in tins, with a scoop of sesame ice-cream topped with salted caramel and scattered with reserved sesame seeds.

Tip : To make your own self-raising flour sift together 2 cups x all-purpose flour, 1 tsp x salt, 1 Tbsp x baking powder. This will be more than you need. I usually double this recipe and store the rest in an airtight container to make pancakes, etc.

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