Preheat oven to 180°C.
Mix the chopped dates, boiling water and bicarbonate of soda.
Beat butter and castor sugar together, using an electric beater, until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until creamy.
Sift dry ingredients and fold into the egg and sugar mixture alternately with the dates.
Transfer the mixture into 6 greased small foil pie dishes and bake in a preheated oven for +- 25 minutes. Or bake in a medium baking dish for 35- 40 minutes.Syrup
Bring the sugar, water and brandy to the boil then add the butter.
Allow to cool and add the vanilla essence.
Remove tarts from the oven when ready and pierce a few holes into each one with a cake tester. Pour syrup over the tarts immediately.
Serve hot with double thick cream.
For a more festive flavour, add 1 ½ t (7.5 ml) mixed spice.
Add 100 g pecan nuts, chopped.
Recipe reprinted with permission of Bits of Carey
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