Puddings don’t get more gloriously indulgent than this one, first cooked up in the 1970s at the Sharrow Bay Hotel in the Lake District. I love the fact that this Cumbrian classic is not just about sweetness: there are lots of rich and nutty flavours in there too, making it the perfect pud after Sunday lunch on a cold winter’s day.
Heat your oven to 180°C/gas 4 and butter a 24 x 26cm baking tin, 4–5cm deep.
Put the dates in a bowl, pour on the boiling water and stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder together over the mixture and fold in. Stir in the dates and their soaking water, then fold in the fudge pieces and 50g of the macadamia nuts.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, spreading it evenly. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until firm and springy to the touch.
Meanwhile, to make the toffee sauce, melt together the butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan over a low heat. Bring to the boil and let bubble for 3–4 minutes, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Preheat your grill to high. Make holes all over the cooked pudding with a skewer. Pour half the sauce over the pudding and place under the hot grill. Grill for 2–3 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Keep your eye on it as it can burn easily.
Cut the hot pudding into portions and serve with the remaining warm toffee sauce, sprinkled with the remaining chopped nuts, and ice cream or cream.
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