The Universe works in mysterious ways, and – as I learned this week - often for good. Recently I have been yearning for the chocolate sponge and chocolate custard that was a regular feature of school dinners in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Then, Nigella Christmas arrived containing a recipe for a far fancier version. I admit that the book wasn’t really much to do with the Universe, more my personal view that a day without an Amazon package arriving is a bad day. Anyway, such omens could not be ignored – the Universe was clearly telling me to make my chocolate pudding.
Most people nowadays steam puddings by standing the basin in a pan of boiling water. I prefer the old fashioned method of standing the pudding over the water. The CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma) has a cast iron – I think it’s Victorian – pan that has been handed down through the family and is perfect for the task as the capacity is so great that there’s no need to top up the water level mid-steam. Just to the left you will spot a saucepan full of cabbage – I left that in to prove that we don’t live solely on cake:
The pudding turned out perfectly:
Oh my word. It’s hard to think what to write about this. I have a passionate weakness for steamed sponge puddings – the sponge always seems so light that the laws of physics are defied. The thick, glossy chocolate sauce is irresistible and the work of minutes.
Who wants some of this moist, chocolate, light sponge and sinful sauce?
Sauce or custard? I recommend both. The CCB (Caked Crusader’s Brother) reckoned there was a yin and yang vibe going on here; he had a point - I certainly felt a sense of harmony and well being whilst eating this:
For the sauce (this can be made in advance and reheated when required):
125g milk chocolate, broken up into squares
125g plain chocolate, broken up into squares
250ml double cream
75g golden syrup
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the pudding:
175g plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40g cocoa powder
175g caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml plain yoghurt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
How to make:
- Start by making the chocolate sauce. If kept refrigerated, it can be made up to a week in advance and simply reheated when required.
- Place all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and melt over a low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure that no lumps remain. Either serve straight away or decant to a bowl and leave to cool. Refrigerate when cool.
- Now make the pudding: generously butter a 1.7 litre (that’s 3 pints for those of you working in old money!) boil proof plastic pudding basin and lid.
- In your steamer, ensure that you have enough boiling water to come halfway up the basin. However, I used a steamer basket, so my sponge didn’t sit in the water. Both ways work just as well.
- Put all the pudding ingredients into a food processor and blitz until the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared basin and level the surface.
- Clip the lid onto the basin and then wrap the basin tightly in foil to ensure that no water can get in.
- Steam for a minimum of 1 ½ hours. I gave mine nearer 2 hours and it did no harm at all.
- When ready to serve, remove the basin’s foil and lid (careful for steam burns – it’s very hot) and put a lipped plate on top. Invert both plate and basin, and give it a slight shake until you feel the pudding is released.
- Reheat the chocolate sauce and either pour over the pudding, hence the lipped plate, or put in a jug for people to serve themselves.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.