Bitter chocolate and orange pudding

We have had a request! The fabulous owner of Yarn To Knit has asked for my chocolate and orange pudding recipe, and well she might as this is one of the successes of my year to date. This is an adaptation of  Nigel Slater’s sponge pudding in its own sauce and is a bit of a faff to make but totally worth it.

I have this lovely lady to thank for introducing me to the original. I don’t tend to return to recipes over and over unless they are a base recipe from which I can  improvise but this one is just so gorgeous that I have made it several times over and have only just thought to add the chocolate.

Be warned before you begin, you will need lots of bowls and hence a good washer up. I suggest bringing this to the table and refusing to serve it until you have extracted promises of dishwashing from your family.

The quantities given make a very large pudding so I usually halve them.

This should be enough for six:

softened but not melted butter 100g

caster sugar 175g

oranges 3 small fruit

at least 70% cocoa solids chocolate 6 squares

eggs 4

proper cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate with sugar and milk added) 40g

milk 400ml

Cream the butter and sugar together until very pale and aerated. Nigel suggests a mixer for this. I’ve never felt the need to buy one so do it by hand.

Grated orange zest and chocolate

ZOMG you have no idea how good this smells

Put the oven on to gas mark 4/180C (my oven is fan assisted and tends to run high so I put it on 160C).

Grate the zest of the oranges, avoiding the pith. Then cut them in half and stick them in the microwave for 30secs, this helps you with the next step, squeezing the juice out. Grate the chocolate.

Clean inside of grater with fingers.

Lick fingers.

Wash fingers.

Butter, sugar and egg yolks, creamed but not curdled

Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the butter and sugar. Nigel reckons it should curdle right now but mine never does. It waits until a couple of stages later, then it curdles. He also says not to worry about it so I never have.

Chocolate orange batter

Usually this is a lumpy mess. I blame you guys!

Slowly and gently add the milk and cocoa powder alternating bit by bit. I bet it’s curdled now hasn’t it?

Except if you’re taking photos of it for a blog post, then it’ll be almost televisually smooth! Mix in the grated orange and chocolate then the juice. The batter should really soft, almost sloppy and not look particularly appetising. Never fear Nigel knows his puddings.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Now I regret not getting that electric mixer. It would be handy. Still, feel my right bicep! Grrrrr! I’m like Popeye on one side and Olive Oyl on the other.

Chocolate orange batter with beaten egg white

Yay! Mud pies!

Gently, gently fold the egg whites into the batter. You don’t want to knock the air out of them.

Pour the whole lot into a tallish oven proof dish so that it comes about halfway up the sides.

Put that into a pan filled with hot water high enough to come halfway up your dish.

Carefully transfer the whole lot into the oven.

You now have an hour on your hands. I suggest you crochet. Or y’know, start on the washing up if you’re one of those horrible organised people.

Baked chocolate orange pudding

Fresh out the oven

After an hour test the top of the pudding which should feel ‘spongy’. When removing it from the oven be super careful with the boiling water in the roasting pan. I once nearly poured it all down my stomach. That would have made my dinner party memorable…

Leave it to cool for as long as you can stand. I can never wait nearly long enough and I burn my mouth every time.

Chocolate orange pudding served

Mmmmm chocolate orange goodness....