4 sheets pre-rolled sweet short-crust pastry
1 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon baking soda
50 grams butter, very soft but not melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons chopped glacé ginger, optional
50 grams roughly chopped dark chocolate
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
200 grams butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup cream
dash of brandy or other liqueur if desired
vanilla ice-cream to serve
8 x 150 m capacity muffin tins, lightly greased.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Cut out 8 x 13 cm circles of pastry and line the tins. Cover and chill until firm. Bake blind for 12 minutes then remove the paper and beans. Reduce the temperature to 150˚C and bake for a further 3 minutes until lightly golden. Cool.
Preheat the oven to 160˚C.
Filling: Put the dates, milk and baking soda in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave for 30 minutes then mash to a paste. Scrape into a large bowl and stir in the butter, sugar, egg, golden syrup and ginger until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and gently mix together until combined. Don’t over-mix or the filling will be tough when cooked. Divide the mixture between the tart cases and bake for 25 minutes or until just firm to the touch.
Toffee sauce: Melt the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan then bring to the boil.
Carefully stir in the cream and liqueur if using and simmer for 5 minutes. Re-heat to serve if making ahead.
To serve: Gently lift the tarts out of the tins and place on plates. Top with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with warm toffee sauce, serving the remaining sauce separately.
To bake blind: line a prepared pastry case with baking paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. The beans support the pastry as it cooks. Bake in a preheated 190˚C - 200˚C oven for up to 20 minutes before removing the paper and weights. The shell should now have taken form. Return to the oven for the time specified in the recipe.