Making The Impossible! No. 2

Robin Boyle Australian, Dessert, Dinner, Impossible?, Launceston, Lunch, Miscellaneous, Recipe

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It is impossible to make flour based cakes and puddings in the Microwave oven! Right?

Well we have stumbled across a self-saucing chocolate pudding that gives a great result when microwaved.

The background

Some weeks ago we were over at Olive’s Cottage at Windermere. It was just a few days after the flood scare for Launceston. Fortunately the levee banks held in the city and there was little sign of flooding except for some low-lying paddocks still under water. At the cottage there was no damage as it seems that while the rain along the Tamar was persistent it was not torrential. (For more on the floods see: Launceston Floods.)

We had invited guests for dinner one night and, given that our stay was only three days, we needed straightforward dishes that give very good results. For some time we had had our eyes on┬áJeremy and Jane Strode’s mocha self-saucing pudding, previously published in The Melbourne Age. A chocolate cake mix is tipped into a large pudding bowl, then, after some sprinklings of brown sugar and cocoa, a cup of hot coffee is poured over the lot before baking. The web link and their recipe are given at the end of this post.

We made the recipe as is, that is, as one large pudding, baked in the oven for about 50 minutes. We were very pleased with the result. It reminded me of the various “puddings” Mum used to make, maybe self-saucing, maybe steamed or maybe a roly-poly.

In their article, the Strodes make this note about their pudding: “An all-time family favourite that is quick to prepare. This recipe is adapted from a 40-year-old Australian Women’s Weekly self-saucing pudding recipe.”

A dessert for election night

Last night was election night in Australia and six of us gathered at our home in Melbourne. We ordered plenty of take-away Indian food and made a salad and laid it all out so that we could help ourselves while the results came in during the evening. We needed a dessert for around 10 pm that would be easy to do. The mocha self-saucing pudding came to mind during the day, then we thought about other types of self-saucing puddings.

Our decades-old Australian Women’s Weekly Microwave cookbook included a microwaved chocolate self-saucing pudding cooked in a large dish. Checks of the Internet gave similar microwave recipes, some cooked as single serves, in small bowls or cups.

The decision was made. We would use the Strode’s recipe with two variations: divide the mixture among six small bowls and then microwave them rather than bake them.

Here they are before going into the microwave. One wonders how they could possibly cook in a normal oven, let alone in the microwave!

Chocolate Pudding - IMG_4965

After only five or six minutes we had our desserts!

Chocolate Pudding - IMG_4972

We didn’t try to tidy up the dishes for presentation purposes. It was election night after all and people were more interested in watching the results rather than some wayward chocolate marks on the side of their dish. This was a true case of “cook and shoot”, photographing the recipe as it unfolds.

The microwave acts more like a steamer than an oven. The texture and final result were not much different from the baked version we had done a few weeks earlier. Needless to say people loved it and marvelled that a cake texture with runny chocolate bits could have been achieved so easily and quickly.

Access the web link below or read the pdf version. Follow their recipe exactly for a single baked pudding. Following are instructions for the microwave version, plus a few extra tips and comments:

  • If you don’t have chocolate buttons, use good quality cooking chocolate broken up.
  • Once you have made the pudding mixture you could stir through some more unmelted buttons or small bits and also sprinkle a few on top.
  • Spray or butter the inside of the pudding dish(es) if you wish.
  • For the microwave version you could use cups or bowls and there is no need to cover them while cooking.
  • Microwave on high for two minutes, give half-turns in the oven for more even cooking and microwave again for two minutes. Allow to rest a little if you wish to let the heat reach the centre.
  • Repeat the microwaving in one minute bursts until the puddings puff up and look cooked. Allow to rest for a few minutes.
  • If you wish to use one large dish, microwave for 12 to 15 minutes and allow to rest for several minutes afterwards.
  • In terms of difficulty, this is about 2 out of 5: Not Difficult.

Serve straight from the oven with lots of runny cream! And don’t just cook it on election night, it is quite an elegant chocoholic’s dessert for any smart dinner party.

Chocolate Pudding - IMG_4988

For the web link (includes recipe), click here: Mocha self-saucing pudding

For a pdf of the web link (includes recipe), click here: Mocha self-saucing pudding

Contributions welcomed!

If you have something that you believe is impossible (read ‘very difficult’) to do at home, please be in touch, especially if you can provide your method, (good quality photos if you have any) and why it turned out so well.