In the chapter titled Chocolate and Divinity in the History of Food, author Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat notes that 'The witty letter-writer, the Marquise de Sévigné had strong feelings about the exotic foodstuff, chocolate. On 11 February 1671, she was obviously madly in love with it. She [wrote] to her daughter, Mme de Grignan: "If you are not feeling well or if you have not slept, chocolate will revive you. But you have no chocolate pot! I think of that again and again. How will you manage?"'.
Two months later, in April, it seems the Marquise realised that she had simply been 'carried away by the fashion' and she wrote that chocolate had been 'accused of causing every evil under the sun'. And by May, she was was totally paranoid, even convinced that indulging in chocolate may be fatal! Strange behaviour, no?
Chocolate is indeed bewitching, and yes it does have a way of making us do strange things. For instance, in the tradition of the great food adventurers before us, Peter and I once embarked on a chocolate safari. Suitably attired and armed with sunscreen, insect repellent, water bottles and wide brimmed hats, we trekked uphill from Sydney's Circular Quay to Woollhara. All that way for a few little bars of Willie's delectable cacao. It was a twelve kilometre round trip by the time we made it back to our hut, err, I mean hotel. Our feet were on fire, we were sunburnt and exhausted, and I seem to recall that every single part of our bodies ached for two days afterwards. But, a pair of brave conquistadors we had secured our treasure, and we savoured every mouthful!
Chocolate was said to be the Food of the Gods, so it's little wonder that it is considered to be 'divine'. In this snippet, I'm sharing two indulgent recipes for chocolate pudding, each delicious but different in terms of ingredients, method and end results. Now, I should point out that I do have a few 180g blocks of Willie's 100% pure cacao in my larder, but I find it just a little bitter for these desserts. Therefore, I used Plaistowe 70% cocoa, which I also happened to have on hand.
The first recipe for Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding is adapted from Janelle Bloom's 1996 Microwave Cookbook, which incidentally is in my opinion one of the best microwave cookbooks on the market. If you happen to see a copy anywhere, make sure you buy it!
I had the pleasure of watching Janelle as she prepared this pudding and then, as soon as it was ready, tasted the sweet, warm chocolatey results. I fell in love with the dish and added it to my repertoire. Subsequently, it became a favourite with my family and Peter has now adopted it (actually, he makes that low, primal growling sound as he eats it, so I am sure he loves it too!).
As with all the recipes I share on Good Things, this one is simply delicious and the aromas that fill the kitchen as it cooks are mouthwatering.
1. Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding - microwave recipe
CHOCOLATE SELF SAUCING PUDDING
100g dark chocolate buttons or squares
1/2 cup milk
50g unsalted butter
3/4 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
pure icing sugar, to finish
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa, extra
11/2 cups boiling water
*combined in a bowl
Combine the chocolate, milk and butter in a Pyrex dish. Cook in a microwave, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes on 70% or 650 watts/medium high. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cocoa and caster sugar in another bowl. Stir in the melted chocolate/butter mixture and add the vanilla essence. Whisk by hand to ensure all ingredients are combined.
Sprinkle the combined topping ingredients over the top of the pudding. Gently pour the boiling water over the cocoa sugar topping. Cook in a microwave for 12-15 minutes on 70% or 650 watts/medium high. Dust with icing sugar and serve. Serves 4-6. Leftovers are lovely when gently reheated the next day.
Recipe 1 - the process in pictures:
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.