choc pud

When I was very young, I had a book in which somebody had inscribed the following: 

“Treasure good books my child.  A treasure store surpassing worldly wealth thou shalt possess. Let not the glittering jewels of life obsess thy mind, alone they give a measure poor of life. Come fly with poets….”

Then something I can’t quite recall – perhaps it was, “‘bove the earth-bound clouds.” But my memory about this last bit is fuzzy.

There was more. Frustratingly, I don’t remember it now. And I certainly don’t remember the book. It was a second-hand book and the inscription was addressed to someone I never knew and signed by someone whose name has long gone. After a lifetime of moves, I no longer have the book. But the inscription (or at least most of it) stuck with me forever. As a young child, I thought the words were so other-worldly and beautiful.

Like so many things that I’ve shed over the years, I wish I still had that book. I wish I could see that ancient cursive script – the handwriting of somebody elderly. I wonder who gave the book away and if it meant anything to them. It’s funny how I’ve carried that message with me my entire life when the words were not meant for me.

Not along ago – I went searching through the few books I have leftover from my early years and some bought to replace those that had fallen by the wayside. I was hoping I might come across the old book with its inscription. But instead, I found Bread and Jam for Frances, Best Friends for Frances, Bedtime for Frances, Little Grey Rabbit and a book called Pookie – about a little white rabbit with wings. And of course, The Velveteen Rabbit. These were amongst my favourites.

So when I saw this quote posted on Facebook recently – it seemed like serendipity….

Velveteen Rabbit

It’s so apt. “You become.” Yes, we do become. We get shabby and loose. Our hair drops out. We are real.

And that got me thinking about this baked chocolate pudding. It’s not terribly photogenic just like the old Velveteen Rabbit. It isn’t especially elegant and it’s not complicated. It isn’t like a glamorous (and phony) red velvet cake with all that colouring, or a frothy, pouffy Pavlova, or an extravagant show-stopper, overly rich cheesecake. It’s just real. And it’s absolutely delicious, so simple, and so straightforward.

I grew up on baked English puddings. My father used to come through the door at night practically shouting, “What’s for pudding?”. He lived for dessert. Any kind of baked pudding – but especially jam roly-poly, spotted Dick, and treacle pudding.

I don’t remember ever having this baked chocolate pudding in my childhood but I am certain I would have loved it and my father would have too. I discovered this recipe when I lived in Australia. I don’t recall the source of the recipe but I could almost place money on its having come from the Australian Women’s Weekly.

It’s a cinch. You can make a vegan version by substituting margarine and almond milk for the butter and milk (I make it this way for the non-dairy eating members of my family). It doesn’t call for eggs.  If you don’t have time to bake it – you can microwave it – will take about 7-9 minutes depending on your microwave. And you can dress it up by serving it like I do, with a little whipped cream and a tablespoon of whiskey. I used Crown Royal Maple Rye – which just has the slightest hint of maple to it. Or you can serve it with a little ice cream – coffee would be nice. Vanilla would be good too.

This is one of my absolute favourite recipes. I make it over and over.  It’s so like the Velveteen Rabbit – a classic that won’t let you down.

Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding

1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)
2 tbsp butter (or margarine), melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (yes, this is the second 1/4 cup cocoa)
1  1/4 cups boiling water

Lightly grease a 2 quart / 2 litre casserole dish. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sifted cocoa and white sugar. Place in casserole dish. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk mixed with the melted butter. Mix all the ingredients and pat flattish in the casserole dish.

Next, mix together the brown sugar, second quarter cup of cocoa, and boiling water. Stir until combined and lump free. Gently pour over the batter in the casserole dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for about 40 minutes or until the top is set but the bottom is a thick sauce. Alternately – if you’re in a rush – you can microwave, covered, for about 7-9 minutes. If your microwave is really small or really old – you might need to zap it for an extra minute or two but don’t get the the whole thing set solid.

Once cooked – let stand for about ten minutes minimum to set properly. Sieve a little icing sugar over it if desired. Serve with whipped cream and a splash of whiskey. Or ice cream. Or nothing at all – it’s very good naked.

self saucing choc pudding

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34 thoughts on “a well-worn classic – self-saucing baked chocolate pudding

  1. What a hauntingly beautiful inscription, I think it would have stuck with me also. I so love your writing, you are a gifted story teller/writer.
    I love the pudding and have a very special love for desserts that are not beautiful, glitzy or glamorous but are truly delicious and that is this pudding. My Mom made a very similar lemon pudding. I loved it with a dollop of whipped cream. Delicious.

    1. Thank you Suzanne – you are a sweetheart. Truly. And yes, I know that lemon version of the pudding – very similar and SO good. I also make a butterscotch version so perhaps one day I’ll post that one too.
      LOVED your post about your pugs – says so much about you.

  2. So glad you went with this as I have a recipe on my HD for A Rich Chocolate Pudding, that I posted my version off on FnDB’s. Problem was that I’d sourced it from some book that I can’t remember the name of. Couple that with my copy of a recipe that didn’t make any sense and I was a tad confused by the whole experience. Okay, it doesn’t take much. Anyway, I ended up making it up. But it became too much of a chore. This is what the recipe should be. Hurrah! And I have delicious organic cocoa that might go off – mightn’t it?! At that price I’m not taking any chances.

      1. And I love it! I’ve just made this tonight, and after a hefty bowl of it I’m reaching out, as if wrestling a medicine ball at the same time, to reach my keyboard. Simply delicious. And loving that it’s made without eggs. As most British versions include them. I’ll be making this again! And having it with chopped banana for breakfast in the morning. Should be good with a cafe con leche. I’m just hoping there’ll be enough left to take photos. 🙂

      2. SO glad you love this Johnny! Hurray! Oh and with the chopped bananas and cafe con leche for breakfast – oh oh oh! Heavenly! I don’t think we eat enough chocolate (or cake) for breakfast. I remember arriving in Mexico and being served chocolate cake and beautiful Mexican coffee for breakfast – sitting on the terrace in the sunshine amidst the flowers. At first I thought, really, cake for breakfast? And after two weeks of this I realized the genius of the whole thing! 😉

  3. I know this pudding….it is wonderfully good. My Mom and sister made it for supper for us usually on a dark and snowy night when we were out helping Dad with the barn chores. Supper would all be in the oven and the smell of the dark chocolate pudding and other good things would waft out of the back door and reach us as we stumbled up to the house through the snowdrifts. No whipped cream or whisky though!

    1. I’m so glad you know this pudding! It is uncommonly good isn’t it – with or without whipped cream and whiskey! I can just imagine your snowy winter nights in the barn doing chores and then coming back through the snowdrifts to find your dinner and this pudding. The stuff of memories! Thank you for dropping by and commenting.

  4. What a beautiful post. So appropos. The art of living is actually and art. It’s not easy, it will kill you, but it’s also very beautiful and fragile and you have to watch out for the false jewels. The baked pudding looks AMAZING. I love your father’s refrain 🙂 Perfect dish. Thanks for sharing those quotes.

    1. Amanda – you are just so lovely! Thank you. I loved my father’s refrain too – and often think of it now when I am cooking, especially if I am making something like an old-fashioned baked pudding. Don’t you love how food connects us all? I do. ♥

  5. I think it is quite photogenic! Lovely post and great quote from The Velveteen Rabbit. It is making me feel like I should go through my old books again. They are the one thing I will never throw out, although I do love giving them away to people. At least then I know they will be read and cherished again.

    1. Eliza! Thank you. It’s so generous that you give your books away but I can’t help but think you’ll wish you had a few of them down the track. Never mind – generosity is one of the greatest virtues ever. Happy New Year to you and Jethro! Wait though – there’s more than one kitty in your life isn’t there? Happy New Year to all the cats!

  6. I’m very excited to make this, and I going to make it right away. I have all the ingredients and my family is going to love you for it. I really love this post Lindy. It’s amazing you remember half of the inscription. It seems very complicated for a young mind. I can see you have always been a “deep thinker” 🙂 I have a collection of old children’s books. I started collecting them when my son was a baby, and stopped when he started chapter books. They are wonderful and now that I think about it I haven’t visited them in awhile. I’m inspired. Love your pudding…

    1. Oh I really hope you just love the pudding! It’s funny because your penne is on my chalkboard. There’s a little of you in my kitchen!
      As for deep thinking – I think actually that I was just a little drama queen and I was so smitten with the inscription that I remember purposefully committing it to memory. It seemed so wonderfully dramatic to think that words might actually cause me to take flight….

      1. You pudding sounds so lovely I’m really looking forward to making it. Being a young girl is so wonderful in the way everything thing seems so magical. I remember on my walks to school I had to pass a tree which was always full of bees and I had made up a song to sing to the bees so they would welcome my presence and not attack me! I sang the song out loud every time I passed. It worked… Were you able to write “penne con pancetta e creme” in Italian penmanship? 🙂

    1. Thank you Mimi. Bizarrely a couple of comments on this post disappeared and reappeared. The crazy thing is I remember writing back to you and thanking you. And now I am doing just that all over again because your comment is mysteriously back and was marked as unread. The only thing better than getting kind feedback once – is getting it twice. 😉

  7. “Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – Lindy, this line is so true. Same to recipes and whatever connects with us in life. I’ve always prefer simple meals and cakes instead of those that are dressed up heavily. Love reading your posts. Warmest, Danny

  8. Lovely post…so nice that you never forgot the inscription meant for someone else. How pleased the person who wrote it would be to know what it meant to you. Your pudding served in that beautiful bowl is just as lovely.

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