I've never seen anything in the States equivalent to these puddings--be they savory or sweet--which are ubiquitous in the UK. I never experienced anything like them in America.
If Americans know anything at all about English puddings, they are probably only familiar in passing with the British Christmas pudding--a concoction which contains beef suet along with raisins, spices, and things one thinks of in sweet cakes. The combo of suet with sweets puts most of us Americans off the whole thing. The idea it is steamed and then set on fire takes us beyond the fringe...
So there I was perusing the Daily Mail Weekend Edition of the newspaper when lo and behold I came across this recipe for a really easy, yummy looking chocolate pudding and I thought, "Give it a go Jaq."
I did and I have to tell you, it was the easiest dessert I've ever made--it ranks right up there with Angel Bars for ease and deliciousness. It looks gorgeous and tastes divine!
While this is called a steamed pudding, Americans should be led to understand that over here the word pudding is a stand-in for the word dessert. It can and does mean any sweet dish served last after the main meal. It is also called "puds..." as in what are we having for puds? So don't expect to steam this baby for 90 minutes and turn out something like a really firm Jello pudding. It is actually more of a cake. And what a cake! It has a light, large crumb and airy feel in the mouth but the rich, deep, indulgent flavor or dark chocolate flirting with orange. I am issuing a personal challenge to all of our American friends, family and readers--try this recipe just once and be sure to let me know what you think!!
I made one for our Christmas dinner dessert. I opted to top it with a jar sauce from Tesco--salted caramel, served with a scoop of Kelly's of Cornwall Cornish cream Ice Cream. Which reminds me of one last thing in relation to desserts...over here Brits love custard and pour it liberally over anything sweet.
For Americans, think of Jello Vanilla pudding which has not quite set. Or for those of you who cook from scratch and have more than a passing acquaintance with high brow cooking, think Cream Anglaise.
Every time Les asks for custard to pour over one of my lovely desserts--Rhubarb Crumble, chocolate brownies, or a slice of fresh baked cake, I just shake my head in sad disgust. For him it is a timeless tradition. For an American, it is two desserts. Two desserts! We yanks will sometimes order a slice of hot apple pie with a scoop of ice cream, knowing full well we are eating...two desserts. It is the leftover Puritan in us. So I thought I was being quite generous for Christmas puds: steamed chocolate pudding, salted caramel sauce and ice cream! Three desserts!!
CHOCOLATE STEAMED PUDDING (serves 10)
(from the Daily Mail Weekend newspaper's Jamie Oliver recipes)
150 gr (5 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, plus 2 T. for greasing the bowl
150 gr (5 1/2 oz) golden caster sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons for sprinkling (in the U.S. use Turbinado sugar or raw cane sugar)
50 gr (1 and 3/4th oz) Green and Black cocoa powder
50 gr (1 and 3/4th oz) of Green and Black or another fine quality 70% dark chocolate, broken up into small chunks
Grated zest of half and orange
3 large eggs
150 gr (5 1/2 oz) self raising flour (in the U.S. use all purpose unbleached flour and add a 1/2 tsp. of baking powder to it)
2 Tablespoons of milk ( I use evaporated milk to provide the rich flavor of cream without the extra calories. You could certainly use semi skimmed milk if you choose).
50 gr (1 and 3/4th oz) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons of golden syrup (in the U.S. use real maple syrup or corn syrup)
100 ml (3 and 1/2 fluid oz) semi skimmed milk (Again I use evaporate milk for a rich, creamy flavor)
150 gr (5 1/2 oz) of dark chocolate broken into chunks
- In a bowl beat butter and sugar until pale. Add the chocolate, cocoa and orange zest. Blitz (mix) until really fine.
- Add eggs, flour (and baking powder for those in U.S.), milk and a pinch of salt.
- Mix into a batter, stopping to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
- Generously grease a 1.3 litre (2 and 1/4th pint) heavy glass bowl with butter.
- Sprinkle bottom and sides of greased bowl with 2 Tablespoons of sugar.tilting and shaking to evenly cover all sides and the bottom.
- Spoon in the batter gently.
- Cover the bowl with foil and pinch it tightly closed all the way around the perimeter of the bowl for a tight seal.
- Find a pot big enough for the bowl to sit in. (I used a small heavy glass mixing bowl for my greased and sugared bowl and my soup pot to put it in.)
- Place the batter filled and foil covered bowl in the larger pan with the foil covered end facing up. Carefully, using a teapot full of boiling water, fill the large, outer pan with water to a point half way up the side of the pudding bowl.
- Bring this to a boil, cover with a lid and turn down to a medium simmering boil. Cook for 90 minutes. You may need to add more water to the pan to keep it at a half way point.
- About 10 minutes before the pudding is cooked, make your chocolate sauce.
- Bring butter, syrup and milk to a simmer in a pan over medium heat.
- Turn off the heat, smash up your chocolate, and add it to the pan with a small pinch of salt.
- Leave it to melt, stirring now and then with a spatula until you have a lovely sauce.
- When the pudding has cooked, turn off the heat. Remove the pudding bowl from the pan carefully (I used large tongs with a rubber grip).
- Remove the foil top and turn the pudding out onto a large plate.
- Drizzle with chocolate sauce.
- If you've made the pudding in advance. simply bring it back to a boil and serve it right away.