(Serves 8)
240g dates
215ml water
1 tsp baking soda
60g butter
2 eggs
140g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
180g self-raising flour, sifted
Ice cream, as desired

2 bananas
1 tbsp sugar

100ml light olive oil
40g buckwheat

200g sugar
4 tbsp water
350ml fresh cream
1 tbsp sea salt, or to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a 21cm (8in) square baking pan with baking paper, then place into a larger, deep pan for creating a water bath. Set aside.
2. Prepare the pudding. Place the dates and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for two minutes, then add the baking soda. Press down on the dates, using a whisk to break them up slightly. Add the butter and stir to mix. Remove and set aside to cool.
3. Beat the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Add the date mixture and mix well. Fold in the sifted flour until just mixed.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, then place both pans in the oven. Fill the larger pan with hot water until it comes halfway up the sides. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the pudding comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it sit in the water bath for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the banana brûlée
1. Peel, then slice the bananas in half lengthways and cut again in half. Sprinkle the flat side with sugar and caramelise with a blow torch (or grill). Set aside.
2. Prepare the crispy buckwheat. Heat the olive oil to 140°C (285°F) and fry the buckwheat until golden. Remove and set aside to drain on paper towels.

Prepare the salted caramel sauce
1. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and let it boil until the mixture turns amber. Remove from the heat and add the cream, being careful as
it may splatter. Return the pan to the heat and whisk until smooth. Stir in the sea salt.

To serve
1. To assemble, slice the pudding and place on individual serving plates. Drizzle with a spoonful of salted caramel sauce, then top with a scoop of your favourite ice cream. Finish with a slice of banana and some crispy buckwheat.

Reprinted with permission from COOK: Food to Share ($40), available through bakerandcook.biz/collections/cookbooks