- Begin the topping: Melt the butter in a frying pan, preferably nonstick, and add the walnuts. Fry the nuts over a medium heat for 1 minute. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add the bananas: Push the nuts to the side of the pan to make room for the bananas, then add them and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the bananas and cook for a further 30 seconds, shaking the pan gently.
- Make the sauce: Carefully pour the orange zest and juice into the pan – the mixture will bubble up and create a lot of steam, so take care. Shake the pan and stir the nuts and sugar, then bring to the boil. Allow to boil hard for 1 minute, moving the bananas a little with a spoon and fork so that the syrup boils evenly. The syrup should be reduced and just beginning to sizzle in places. It should form a sticky coating on and around the nuts. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Assemble and serve: Cut the bananas in half widthways and put two halves on each plate. Spoon over the nut and sugar glaze. Top with two scoops of ice cream and serve.
Hot chocolate pear sundae: Peel, core and halve 4 ripe dessert pears. Cook the walnuts as the basic recipe and add the pear halves instead of the bananas. Instead of orange zest and juice, add 4 tbsp rum to the nuts in the pan and stir for a few seconds, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in 4 tbsp cream. Top the pears with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla and pour over the rum and walnut sauce. (Drained canned pear halves can be used instead of fresh fruit.)
Any sugar will work well in this recipe. Soft dark brown or muscovado sugars make a dark, rich glaze, whereas light soft brown or muscovado sugars are not quite as rich. Ordinary granulated sugar also works well, making a light, fruity glaze.