Chop the dates into small pieces,
put in a small bowl then pour over
175ml boiling water. Leave to cool, about
30 mins. Oil (using the ½ tsp oil) then
flour 7 x 200ml pudding tins (tapping out
excess flour). Sit them on a baking sheet.
Stir the vanilla and treacle into the dates,
and mash with a fork to a rough purée.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. To
make the puddings, beat the eggs in a
small bowl. Mix the bicarbonate of soda
and 175g flour together. Stir the 75ml
oil and demerara sugar together in a
larger bowl, using a wooden spoon. Pour
in the eggs a bit at a time, beating as you
go. Gently fold in one-third of the flour with
a large metal spoon, then half the yogurt.
Don’t overmix. Repeat, finishing with the
last of the flour. Gently stir the mashed
dates in to a thick batter. Spoon evenly
between the tins. Bake for 20-25 mins.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the
muscovado sugar and butter into a small
heavy-based pan. Heat over a low-medium
heat, stirring occasionally, until
the sugar starts to dissolve, without
bringing to the boil or it may burn. The
mixture will be quite thick, like fudge,
and the sugar won’t dissolve completely
at this stage. Take the pan off the heat,
then stir in the black treacle and vanilla.
Cool for 1-2 mins, then stir in the crème
fraîche a spoonful at a time, so it
incorporates smoothly into the mixture.
If it’s a bit lumpy, use a small wire whisk
to break them up.
To serve, loosen around the sides of
the puddings with a round-bladed knife,
then turn out onto plates. Spoon a little
sauce over each one and finish with a
drizzle of it on the plate. Puddings and
sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.