Among the recipes my mum gave me when I started university was one she’d been given by a friend many years ago. Billed as “Julia’s Perfect Chocolate Pudding”, I decided to made it once during the first term for a group of friends.
It was a total disaster. It cooked only on one side, tasted bitter, and looked like a swamp. I had to throw it away and give people Wagon Wheels instead. “Perfect recipe” my arse. Thanks for nothing Julia. Let’s hope this is better.
This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder, extra
2 cups boiling water
Method (serves 6):
1. Preheat oven to 180 oC. Grease 1.5 litre oven dish.
2. Melt butter with milk in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in extract and caster sugar then sifted flour and cocoa. Spread the mixture into dish.
3. Sift brown sugar and extra cocoa over mixture; gently pour boiling water over mixture. Bake about 40 minutes or until centre is firm. Stand 5 minutes before serving.
It was only when I started typing up this recipe that I realised I was supposed to grease the pan. I didn’t. And it didn’t seem to make any difference.
I replaced the brown sugar with demerara sugar. I wouldn’t advise this. More details to follow.
Cocoa powder. You’d think no recipe could go wrong once you start with this.
Demerara sugar. See how dense the crystals are?*
Flour. Like the drifted snow at Piz Palü in springtime.
My mise en place, (technically, it’s only a demi-mise, but c’est la vie ma petit pois!)
Melted butter. I wonder if this is what my arteries look like.
Mix it all together, and transfer to (ungreased) dish…
… Then sift sugar onto the chocolate mix.
Yeah, about that. Does the sugar look a little chunky to you?
Sifting the sugar was taking a really long time. *Checks recipe again* Aha, it’s supposed to be brown sugar, rather than demerara. I imagine this is because brown sugar is finer.
* I’ve realised the problem. The crystals are too large to fit through the sieve. Despite my best efforts to shake and scratch it through, it’s a laborious process. I give up and tip half of the sugar back into the packet. Life’s too short.
The sugar layer is covered over with a layer of cocoa powder.
Now this is the bit I find odd. You just pour boiling water over the top of the mixture. The best thing about this recipe is that the pudding makes its own sauce – I guess that’s what this water is all about.
That really doesn’t look right to me.
Delicious swamp. Let’s hope 40 minutes in the oven will transform this bad boy…
Voila. Okay, it doesn’t look like much, but it does look just like the picture, so that’s encouraging. Swampville has been transformed into Lava Land. Chocolate ooze is bubbling through the craters on the surface.
It’s certainly saucy.
Holy goodness – it’s fantastic! What it lacks in presentation, it makes up for in noms. The cake part is bouncy and chewy, while the sauce is thick, sticky and really chocolatey.
None particularly. I didn’t miss the demerara sugar that I didn’t use – so I wonder if it’s a totally necessary part of the recipe.
It. Tastes. So. Good. And it’s pretty easy to do. Just bung it all in a dish and stick it in the oven. Jamie Oliver would be proud.
More importantly, the curse of Julia and her falsely-advertised “perfect pudding” has been removed once and for all. All hail the new self-saucing pudding.