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Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Blitz the dates in a food processor until chopped a little, then add the walnuts, carrot, apple, golden syrup and brandy. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped, but still chunky. Tip in the butter, eggs and sugar and pulse a few times to combine. Finally, add the flour and bicarbonate soda, and keep tapping the pulse button just until everything comes together. Butter and line the base of a 1.5-litre pudding basin with greaseproof paper. Tip the mix in, smooth the top and bake for 1 hr 20 mins –1 hr 30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the pudding comes out almost clean.
To make the sauce, tip the sugar into a frying pan and put over a medium heat. Cook until bubbling and golden. Swirl in the walnuts and, when completely coated, use a slotted spoon to lift them out onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Leave to harden; this is the praline. Carefully add the butter and cream to the caramel residue in the pan, return to the heat, bring to a simmer and stir together to make a toffee sauce.
To serve, break the praline into shards. Turn out the pudding, spoon over some sauce and decorate with the praline. Serve with the remaining sauce.