My maternal grandmother was a bit of a mystery; there is a lot that I don’t know about her. Different people knew her by different names – Grace or Marcelle. To me she was Nanny – full of love, laughs, encouragement and good advice. She taught me to share my toys with my little sister, and to keep inside the lines when I was colouring in the pictures she drew for me. It has been ten years since she passed away, but she’s still very much in my thoughts.
There are many things that remind me of her on a daily basis, from memories of our outings to the city when we’d travel by train and she would wait patiently at the bottom while I ran up and down the Opera House steps, to the pieces of crockery that I inherited (many of which are regularly featured in my photographs here). We used to play Yahtzee, and she’d whisper to the dice and help me calculate my score because I was too little to do it by myself.
But if there were one thing that reminds me of her the most, it would be self-saucing pudding. I helped her make it so many times, and it was one of my favourite desserts as a kid. A self-saucing pudding is a whole different species to what is commonly known as pudding in America. It’s cake-like rather than custard-like. Boiling liquid is poured over the batter and the pudding is baked, with a cake layer on top and a rich sauce forming underneath. Unfortunately this isn’t my Nan’s recipe, I never thought to ask her for it, but one that I’ve had bookmarked from Gourmet Traveller for a long while.
I was intrigued by the combination of chocolate and chestnut and I finally got the chance to use the chestnut cream I picked up a few months back, which was an impulse purchase from a gourmet grocer in Surry Hills. It’s definitely a more sophisticated, grown-up version of a self-saucing pudding than what I used to make with Nanny, but absolutely delicious. I loved the sweet pop of the port-soaked raisins. The recipe came together really easily for an absolutely fantastic dinner party dessert. I wish I could invite my Nanny over for lunch and make it for her.
I would also like to announce the lucky winner of the GourmetRabbit competition. Congratulations to What Deliciousness, you’ve won a copy of the collector’s first issue plus a year’s online subscription to the website, so you can read full articles, enter competitions and be invited to some awesome exclusive events. Thanks to everyone who participated, you guys have sure eaten some weird and wonderful things!
Chocolate and Chestnut Self Saucing Pudding
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
• 50g raisins or dried muscatels
• 75ml port
• 340g brown sugar
• 140g butter, softened
• 2 eggs
• 100g sweetened chestnut puree
• 225g self-raising flour
• 65g Dutch processed cocoa
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 225ml milk
• 140g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
• Ice cream, to serve
Combine raisins or muscatels and 50ml port in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Meanwhile, beat 200g brown sugar and butter until pale and creamy. Add eggs and chestnut puree and beat to combine. Sift over flour, 50g cocoa and baking powder. Mix to combine, then stir in milk, chocolate, raisins and liquid. Divide among 6 lightly buttered 2 cup capacity ovenproof moulds and set aside.
Combine remaining brown sugar and cocoa in a heatproof bowl, gradually add 350ml boiling water and stir until smooth and combined, then stir in remaining port. Pour over pudding batter, dividing equally among the moulds. Bake until risen and a skewer withdraws clean (15-20 minutes). Serve warm with ice cream.