Special equipment: 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Line bottom with waxed paper or parchment. Grease paper.
Place date pieces in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Stir in soda and set aside. Cream butter then add sugar and beat until creamed. Continue beating, adding eggs 2 at a time, mixing until fluffy, add vanilla. Mix in flour and baking powder, alternating with dates. Bake in a 325 degree oven until firm, about 40-45 minutes, cool in pan on a wire rack. Invert cake onto rack; remove paper; invert cake again. Cover and chill. Cut out triangles. Cover with sauce. Warm to order-1 minute in microwave.
For sauce, add last 4 ingredients together and boil 3 minutes. Garnish with caramelized pears and dried pear chips.
In a saute pan on medium, melt the butter then stir in the sugar. Simmer, stirring occasionally until it begins to turn golden brown and caramelized. Add brandy and lemon juice to the pan and simmer to incorporate. Add pear slices and cook slowly to tenderize and caramelize.
Wash fruit and slice very thin on an electric meat slicker. Dip slices in simple syrup then lay on a parchment lined sheet pan. Place in a 200 degree convection oven for 40-60 minutes, until dried out. While still hot, peel slices off paper. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand