• Most South Africans love a tipsy tart, and when you serve it this way with vanilla vodka, in a martini glass with the vanilla pods as the swizzle sticks, it makes quite an impression.

    Vanilla vodka tipsy tart

    Serves: 6
    Cooking Time: 1 hour 50 mins


    • BATTER
    • 250g pitted dates, chopped
    • 5ml bicarbonate of soda
    • 250ml boiling water
    • 180g cake flour
    • 2ml baking powder
    • pinch salt
    • 125g butter, at room temperature
    • 250ml sugar
    • 2 extra-large eggs
    • 100g walnuts, chopped
    • 100g glacé cherries, halved
    • SAUCE
    • 15ml butter
    • 120g brown sugar
    • 250ml water
    • 3ml vanilla essence
    • 125ml vanilla vodka
    • 2 vanilla pods
    • 600ml milk
    • 8 egg yolks
    • 60ml sugar



    Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a 27cm ovenproof dish with butter or non-stick spray.


    Place the dates and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over. Set aside to cool.


    Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the dry ingredients on top and add the nuts and cherries. Add the dates, mixing well.


    Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake until a testing skewer comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes.


    To make the sauce, heat the butter, sugar and water in a pot, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and reduce the sauce until it turns syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla essence and vodka. Pour the sauce over the hot tart as soon as it comes out of the oven.


    To prepare the custard, split the vanilla pods lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Bring the milk to a near boil, remove from the heat and add the vanilla seeds and pods. Allow to stand so that the vanilla infuses the milk, about 15 minutes.


    Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick and creamy. Remove the pods from the milk and slowly beat the milk into the egg mixture.


    Place the mixture in a heavy-based pot and cook over a low to medium heat (do not allow to boil), stirring constantly, until the custard thickens or covers the back of a wooden spoon.


    To serve, scoop out two big spoons of the tart into martini glasses and serve with the custard. This dessert can be served hot or cold.