Put the dates and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat. Add the bicarbonate of soda and stir until the dates start to break down. Keep aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the date mixture and stir to combine. Then carefully fold through the sifted flour.
Divide the mixture evenly between the eight moulds until 2/3 full.
Place the moulds in a baking tray, carefully pour some water in the tray until it comes up to 1/3 of the side of the moulds.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 355°F (160°C – 320°F fan-forced) for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Combine the butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in a small saucepan and cook it over low heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
To serve, invert the hot pudding onto a serving plate and top with the butterscotch sauce.
You can also serve this pudding with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of double cream.