I remember the first time I made chocolate self-saucing pudding was as a child of around 11 or 12.  Even from the perspective of a kid who had never made much pudding before, that this recipe would turn into a pudding with sauce seemed just highly improbable.  I’d be grateful for any information out there about how – scientifically, I guess – this recipe works: from some pantry and fridge basics you make a melt-and-mix cake batter, then sprinkle over some sugar and cocoa, and then pour over some boiling water.  It is the last part that seems weird.  But this recipe is dead easy and yet wonderfully comforting and satisfying.  We thought that we grown-ups needed a bit of extra indulgence this time around so added some Pedro Ximinez-soaked prunes as well – we can definitely recommend it.  We ate it as is on the first night, with leftovers enjoyed throughout the week warmed with an extra splash of pedro on top and a blob of custard.

NCRmay09And if you may be starting to think that our house seems to have been a house of desserts of late, you are right.  On that note I would like to say my warm thanks for supporting my entry (a warming dish of winter berries) to May’s No Crouton’s Required event.  I’m chuffed to now sport the winner’s badge for the month!  It’s lovely to receive this encouragement from readers, and I’m particularly grateful to the event organisers Lisa and Jacqueline, who apart from organising the event also maintain inspiring food blogs themselves.

I promise that we have been eating our greens at dinner, but today we’re still talking about icky and sticky desserts, so here’s the pudding recipe.  Enjoy!

Chocolate self-saucing pudding with drunken prunes
Adapted from Stephanie Alexander

125g plain flour
pinch of salt
1/4 castor sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
40g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
dash vanilla essence
1/3 cup prunes, sliced roughly
3 tbsp Pedro Ximinez sherry (or brandy or cognac or whatever you have handy)

For the topping
180g brown sugar
2tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C.

Soak the prunes in the sherry and set aside.

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cocoa in a large bowl.  In a jug mix the melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla.  Tip the wet into the dry and mix thoroughly.  Stir through the prune mixture with the juices.  Tip into a 1.4L baking dish.

For the topping, mix together the brown sugar and the cocoa in a small bowl.  Scatter over the pudding batter.  Then carefully pour over the boiling water.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Serve hot with custard and extra sherry.

Yield: 6-8 servings.