What is it?: Pretty much what it says – a chocolate pudding, cooked by steaming
Occasion: Child-friendly supper with friends.
I know very few people that are not complete suckers for chocolate, even my boyfriend Ollie, who claims to be indifferent has been known to have a sneaky bar every now and again. And although excessive consumption it is often considered a weakness or vice, it just makes life that little bit sweeter. I love chocolate, I even dream about it, so selecting my very first dessert from Short and Sweet could not have been easier plus, I had an occasion for it. Our neighbours, Rob and Emma were kind enough to invite us to their house for one of their legendary Sunday night suppers, and I always attempt to repay their hospitality by bringing dessert. Of course, they have a real love of calorific puddings, but they also have a five-year-old son, Jack, who has less adventurous tastes than his parents, which means he dislikes anything too boozy, too nutty or too strong. He does, however, adore chocolate, so for this audience, the steamed chocolate pudding is perfect.
This pudding is a cocoa-based sponge containing ingredients you would expect to see (eggs, butter, sugar, milk etc) which are combined then steamed in a pudding bowl inside a pan of simmering water. All of the cooking is done on the stovetop, which means you do not even have to turn your oven on. Mine has been so abused lately, I was glad to give it a day off. The pudding alone is a moist chocolate delight but further decadence is added by dousing it in a velvety cloak of chocolate sauce, made separately in a saucepan. In the ‘saucy’ note at the bottom of the recipe, Dan warns that some might find the chocolate sauce too rich and suggests the classic caramel sauce (also detailed in the book) as an alternative. For me, the concept of ‘too rich’ does not exist and double chocolate is like a dream come true, so I decided to run with it.
The pudding is steamed for an hour and a half but, encased in the pudding bowl and covered with baking parchment and foil, it is difficult to tell when it was cooked. I was worried it would be overdone, but when I gingerly took off the lid, I found a perfectly steamed pudding underneath – it even came out of the bowl with little effort. Relief, especially as I unveiled it in Rob and Emma’s kitchen and a pile of chocolate mush would have been far less impressive. I reheated the chocolate sauce I made earlier and poured it liberally over the sponge before serving with extra-thick double cream. The five of us devoured the entire thing in less than five minutes. We even spent the rest of the night scraping the caked-on chocolate from the serving plate. It is oh so wrong, but oh so right. I kind of want to make it again with the caramel sauce…
In other news:
I popped down to Le Chandelier in East Dulwich with my friend Adrienne today. They do a mean Earl Grey, but when I asked for some milk they looked at me like I was nuts. Other people do this, right?
Rob and Emma make a really mean roast dinner. If you ever get invited for one, do go.
Le Chandelier, 161 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22 8HX