Please note: this is not a healthy recipe. Nor is it intended to be. Remember the adage everything in moderation? It applies here. For example, I haven’t made this pudding in over a year. That’s pretty good self-restraint. Until you take into account the various brownies and cookies and cheesecakes and so on. But that’s beside the point isn’t it? Isn’t it? This recipe is from the second cookbook I ever owned The Australian Women’s Weekly’s ‘Get Real: Make a Meal’. I loved that cookbook (and sadly still do), thinking I was a right groovy gal to have one with a title like that. In an act of revenge (don’t ask me what I did to initiate it, I haven’t a clue) my sister scribbled all over the front of it. I was horrified. How dare she desecrate my cookbook? Never mind that the recipes remained untouched. It was a cookbook. And it was mine. It seems that I was far too protective of my cookbooks, even at the age of eight. Oh boy, that’s sad isn’t it?
The beauty of this recipe (and a fair few others from that cookbook) is that it’s designed for children. Apart from the milder flavours and all the nice warning signs hinting as to when you might injure yourself – ‘ask mummy to remove the pot from the oven’ – the recipes can weather a few mistakes and still turn out reasonably well (as in the result is still edible). This Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding is a testament to that.
On one eventful outing I decided to be ‘healthy’ and halve the recipe so that everyone would have to eat smaller portions. I’d meticulously measured out all my ingredients, apart from the boiling water (not exactly a hard to get or expensive commodity), at home and packed them up for making the pudding at our destination (my Grandmother’s house). In my 14 year old eagerness to impress my Grandmother and get the pudding in the oven swiftly, I forgot to halve the boiling water. This resulted in bits of soggy pudding floating in a very thick and gluggy sauce. It was a severe case of ‘sauce with pudding’. I was mortified. Granny being who she is pretended that nothing was wrong with it and after some persuasion we sat down to eat it. Shockingly it still tasted alright. Perhaps it’s the sad proof that anything with enough sugar and butter will satisfy the taste buds.
The recipe below contains the correct amount of boiling water and will produce a sweet, lightly chocolatey sponge (as it’s ‘child friendly’ it isn’t a deeply rich chocolatey pudding) sitting upon a thick, molten sauce that bubbles up around the edges in an extremely satisfying manner. It’s one hot mess. Sink your spoon into it. No regrets.
Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding
60g unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup milk
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups boiling water
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 6 cup (1.5 litre) capacity ovenproof dish.
Set a medium sized pot over low heat and add the butter and milk. Warm, stirring, until the butter is just melted.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Sift together the flour and half of the cocoa powder into the butter mixture. Stir to combine.
Use a spatula to gently scrape the mixture into the greased dish and sprinkle the remaining cocoa powder and brown sugar over the batter. Slowly pour the boiling water over the back of a wooden spoon and onto the batter.
Carefully transfer the dish to the oven, trying to not ‘slop’ it around too much (otherwise, the sauce will bake/burn onto the upper edges of the dish). Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the spongey-cake part comes out clean. Don’t insert it all the way, otherwise it will come out sticky from the sauce!
Set the dish on a wire rack and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Dust with icing sugar.
Serve warm with cream, custard or vanilla ice-cream.
Will keep for 2-3 days and can be gently reheated in a moderate oven (or in the microwave if you’re desperate for a quick sugar fix!)
Source: Barely adapted from Australian Women’s Weekly: Get Real, Make a Meal.