Monday, August 1, 2011

Chocolate and Muscat Puddings

chocolate and muscat pudding

Sarah Wilson recently wrote a great article about being "too busy to live life", and it rang true for me. It’s something I’ve been feeling for a while. Between my day job, my freelance design work, my blog, commuting two hours every day, normal day to day responsibilities, and trying to achieve some semblance of a social life, where on earth does one find the time to just live?

To take the time to notice the beauty in the things all around me. To sit with a book and a cup of tea in a comfy chair and lose myself in the pages. To take a proper hour-long lunchbreak every now and then, or to get up and go for a walk when I find I’m busybusy but not productive. To put downtime on the to-do list, without feeling guilty that I’m not working. To stop thinking about what’s next and be happy with what I have now.

I found myself fed up with winter and wishing for spring the other day. I guess it’s a perfectly normal reaction when you have to get up before the sun on a cold morning, but I decided to just go with it, to try to enjoy it. I watched the sun turn the morning sky a vibrant orange while I sipped my morning coffee. I noticed the dew on the grass when I walked outside. And whatever anyone says about winter, no one can deny that’s the optimum time for chocolate pudding.

Self-saucing puddings will always have a special place in my memory thanks to my Nan. I remember helping her to make them as a child, and I recently rediscovered them after not making one since she passed away. This is a particularly delicious one, with the genius addition of raisins soaked in muscat. I would have loved to make the Muscatel ice cream from the original recipe as well, but my ice cream maker is currently out of commission (Broken. Sob) but I can tell you that it was still absolutely delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Chocolate pudding is the ultimate winter comfort food, the perfect excuse to spend a nice lazy day baking. And an even lazier evening sitting in front of the fireplace eating it.

chocolate and muscat pudding

Chocolate and Muscat Puddings
Serves 6
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 110ml muscat
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 100g dried muscatels (if muscatels are unavailable use raisins)
• 140g butter, softened
• 390g brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 300g self-raising flour
• 75g cocoa powder, plus extra, to serve
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 250ml (1 cup) milk
• 140g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
• Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Summer muscat, vanilla extract and muscatels in a small saucepan over medium heat until muscat is nearly absorbed and muscatels are plump (4-5 minutes) and set aside.

Beat butter and 250g brown sugar until pale and creamy, add eggs and beat to combine. Sift over flour, baking powder and 60g of the cocoa powder and mix to combine. Stir in milk and muscatel mixture, and then chocolate. Divide among six lightly buttered 500ml ovenproof moulds and set aside.

Combine remaining brown sugar and remaining cocoa un a heatproof jug. Add 375ml boiling water and stir to combine. Pour over pudding batter, dividing equally, then bake for 15-20 minutes, or until puddings are risen and a skewer withdraws clean. Dust with cocoa and serve hot with ice cream.

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