Add the pitted dates and water to a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the vanilla and process into a smooth puree then set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together.
Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large bowl if using a hand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy then scrape the bowl down, add the egg and beat until combined and then add the pureed dates.
Mix to combine then add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. Finish the batter off with a spatula then divide the batter evenly into six half cup ramekins that have been buttered. Place on a baking tray and bake at 350f for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and increase temp to 400F.
Allow to cool for a few minutes then invert onto a wire rack and wipe the ramekins down to remove crumbs. You can cut the cakes down the middle to create two layers if you really want to soak them with the toffee but this is optional.
Add about two tablespoons of sauce to the bottom of each ramekin then place the pudding in. If you cut in half spoon another tablespoon on top of the first layer and place the second layer in. Top with more toffee then place back on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes at 400F or until they start to bubble.
Invert onto dessert plates and pour more sauce over then serve with unsweetened or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Notes: The sauce takes some time but you can work on the batter while it’s bubbling away, it doesn’t require that much attention thanks to the corn syrup.
Sauce can be made in advance and heated before using.
You can refrigerate the puddings in the ramekins after the toffee has been poured on then microwave for about 1minute, invert and serve.
Warming the sauce on low heat just before serving will thin it out and allow you to pour it easily.