My mum would be sitting on the couch after making a delicious meal for my sister and I – usually a big lentil curry, stew, or a vegetable stir-fry – and she would all of a sudden spring up and race into the kitchen.
She used to say she was ‘overcome’.
The nights, as they usually are in Victoria, would be chilly and we would be wrapped in woollen blankets in the lounge. A smell of chocolate sweetness would curl through the air, mixed with wood-smoke from our potbelly stove, wrapping around us as we watched 90210 or A Country Practice.
Out of the oven would come a steaming Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding. Three old mismatched bowls were plonked onto the bench and my mother would, somewhat viciously, stab the risen chocolate pudding dome with a big spoon. A tuft of steam would escape and our mouths would automatically water.
My mother’s spoon would dig in and around and then come back out again with a huge dollop of pudding on it. She never used recipes and simply went by feel – the right consistency, colour, gloss and texture was all she needed – so it never took longer than 2 minutes from ‘ingredients out’ to lifting that piece of heaven into the oven.
Since giving up gluten and sugar I hadn’t tried to replicate this old favourite, though having a chat with Mum about it three days go my mind conjured up an image of the fire, a crochet blanket and bowls of that Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding that was so vivid I could have licked the back of an imaginary spoon.
Mum rattled off the general quantities and I went home and (we) began – my daughter Holly a permanent sous chef on her stool in the kitchen.
To be honest with you, Holly actually made the cake, not me. I was only allowed to be on sauce duties.
When I took the pudding out of the oven it had risen much more than I anticipated. I swapped self-raising flour for buckwheat flour, cows milk for almond milk, rice malt syrup for sugar, cocoa for cacao and butter for olive oil. So all in all – nothing like the original. I also added some apple cider vinegar to activate the bicarbonate of soda.
The biggest test was whether Mum would like it as much as we did. We sat her down, put a tea towel over her lap and ladled the chocolate sauce over the pudding.
Sitting each side of their Nanna, my daughters like birds with their mouths open next to mum she barely got a taste.
We gave her a second and then third bowl.
This self-saucing chocolate pudding has soul.
I hope you enjoy.
Ingredients – serves four
Pre-heat oven to 180C + Boil the kettle
- 1 cup buckwheat flour (250ml)
- 2/3 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarb soda
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (this activates the bicarb and helps the pudding to rise)
- Mix together until combined into a batter.
- Pour into a 20cm baking dish or 4 ramekin dishes
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup rice malt syrup
- 2 tbls honey (optional, I like the rich flavour honey gives as rice malt syrup is very plain but you can omit if you like)
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- Mix together
- Using a large spoon or spatula so you don’t damage the pudding batter, carefully pour the chocolate sauce over the back of the spoon or spatula into the baking dish over the batter*. You don’t want to be too rough and break the mix up too much as it may end up with a sloppy texture – so just go slow.
- Bake in the oven* for 20-30 mins depending on your dish size until the center of the pudding is firm.
- Take out and dish up.
*The chocolate sauce will float on top and as the pudding cooks it sinks to the bottom of the baking dish
*It’s worth laying a tray under the rack that the baking dish is on to catch any sauce drips that may bubble over the side so you don’t end up with them burnt to the bottom of your oven.
Do you have a favourite childhood dessert?