Special equipment: a 1-liter (4.2 pint) pudding mold; oven-safe plastic wrap
For the pudding: Preheat the oven to 330 degrees F. Bring 400 grams (14 1/8 ounces) water to a boil and pour over the dates. Let sit for 2 minutes, then add the baking soda. Blend the date mixture in a food processor, leaving some chunks.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the granulated sugar and butter until soft. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix until combined. Add the date mixture to the batter and mix until combined.
Fill the mold three-quarters full. Cover with oven-safe plastic wrap. Place the mold in a water bath filled halfway up the sides of the pudding. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 30 minutes.
For the sauce: In a saucepot, combine the brown sugar, cream, butter, bourbon and vanilla seeds. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer; cook until the sugar dissolves. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Pour the warm sauce over the pudding and serve.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.