Known as a quintessential summer venue, chic Carlton rooftop bar Johnny’s Green Room recently underwent a significant renovation – including new retractable glass panels enclosing the space – making it a year-round hotspot.

To celebrate the winter-friendly vibe, culinary director Karen Martini is serving her own spin on the classic sticky date pud, and reveals the recipe below. Inspired by traditional Italian panforte, Martini’s version includes prune, orange zest and cocoa alongside warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger and white pepper for a rich, sticky and festive treat.

Of course, caramel sauce is non-negotiable, here bolstered with treacle and blackened like a dark toffee. It’s best served with ice-cream – Johnny’s uses fior di latte from sister venue Pidapipo downstairs.

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Johnny’s Green Room’s sticky panforte date pudding with black caramel sauce

Serves 8 to 10 people
40 mins prep time
30 mins cook time

Pudding ingredients:

1060ml water
440g pitted dates
240g pitted prunes, chopped in half
Zest of 1 orange
3 tsp bicarbonate soda
230g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g caster sugar
100g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 x 70g eggs
430g flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2½ tsp ground cinnamon
2½ tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder

Pudding method:

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Combine water, dates, prunes, and orange zest in a pot and bring to the boil. Add bicarb soda, stir and cool. Once cooled, whisk to break up the fruit.

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, cream butter and sugars until pale. Add vanilla, then eggs slowly, one at a time. Transfer butter mix to a large bowl.

Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, white pepper, ginger and baking powder together and stir into butter mix alternatively with the fruit mix. Don’t over mix.

Pour mixture into a lined, greased 30cm x 20cm baking dish (or deep sided tin) and bake for 30 minutes. Check with a skewer and remove from the oven once the skewer comes out clean.

Caramel sauce ingredients:

300g caster sugar
50ml water
150ml unsalted butter
300g soft brown sugar
150ml treacle
700ml cream
2 tsp salt flakes

Caramel sauce method:

In a deep, medium-sized heavy-based pot, add the caster sugar and water.

Dissolve sugar over low heat then increase heat and boil to a medium-coloured caramel.

Remove the pan from the heat, add butter and stir. Then add the brown sugar and treacle, stirring continuously before adding cream and salt, stirring with each addition.

Return the pot to the heat and bring back to the boil, careful it doesn’t boil over, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes to reach 113°C on a sugar thermometer.

Pour out of the pot into a jug or bowl and allow to cool slightly. Serve a slice of the sticky hot pudding with black caramel, whipped cream and fior di latte gelato with a dusting of icing sugar on top.