Put the chopped dates in a pan with
the milk, butter, ginger preserve and dark
muscovado. Heat gently until the butter
has melted and the mixture starts to
bubble round the edges of the pan.
Stir well and set aside for 1 hr to cool.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line
the base of a buttered 23cm springform
tin with baking parchment. Peel and chop
the pears into large chunks. Mix the flour,
chopped pecans and bicarb with the
spices, then stir into the cooled date
mixture with the eggs. Pour into the tin
and scatter over the pears. Roughly
break the reserved pecans and drop on
top. Bake for 40 mins, then cover the top
loosely with foil and return to the oven
for 25-30 mins more until a skewer
inserted into the centre comes out with
just sticky crumbs – the cake may still
look a little wet around the pears.
While the cake is baking, make the
brandy syrup. Tip the light muscovado
sugar into a pan with 50ml water and
dissolve over a low heat until syrupy. Stir
in the brandy and set aside. When the
cake is ready, spoon over half the syrup,
then leave the cake to cool before
serving with extra syrup on the side.
To freeze, cool the cake in its tin, then
wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months.
Defrost and warm through in a low oven.
The syrup can be frozen separately,
warmed, then drizzled over as before.