Guest Post – Dessert adventures: chocolate floater (snortsnortguffaw)

floater portion

chocolate floater plus creme fraiche

A post about one of my irregular forays into desserts. Although the name might make you think of the pool scene in caddyshack, this is an Australian classic and the recipe is one I finagled out of my mum a few years back. It’s also known as self-saucing chocolate pudding, and the two names emphasise different dessertly aspects. Pudding? Check. Chocolate? Oh yes. Self-generated sauce? Somehow. And floater…? Well, yes, that too, as I’ll explain. And the best thing is that it’s fast and simple to prepare.

Basically, you make a chocolate flavoured pudding batter with self-raising flour. You pour a thin solution of sugar and cocoa on top of this, and then you bake the lot. The acid/alkali in the self-raising flour generates lots of carbon dioxide during cooking, meaning the batter becomes lighter and swaps position with the sauce, ending up floating on top of it rather than sitting under it. The batter at the boundary with the liquid breaks down during cooking, thickening and enriching it into a delicious chocolatey mess of a sauce. One final plus is that it uses cocoa powder rather than actual chocolate so it’s surprisingly light for such a seeming dessert bomb and you can eat it without feeling like an overloaded dump truck.

Ingredients (serves 4 enthusiastic diners):
pudding:
75g self-raising flour (75g plain flour plus 1tsp baking powder works too)
2 tblsps cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tblsp milk

sauce
100g soft brown sugar
2 tblsps cocoa powder
250ml boiling water

What to do:
First the pudding: sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar till light, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in a little of the sifted flour mix, and then fold in the rest along with the tblsp milk to get a medium-soft batter. Spoon it into a buttered baking/souffle/pudding dish. Now the sauce – mix the ingredients, then pour it gently over the batter.

pudding batterfloater & sauce

Bake the lot for approx 40 minutes in a preheated 190C oven, and it will be transformed – a moist chocolate pudding with caramelized edges floating on a rich, gooey sauce. Perfect with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche or just some cream.

floater4

cooked pudding floating on sauce

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10 Responses to Guest Post – Dessert adventures: chocolate floater (snortsnortguffaw)

  1. Will says:

    Concise comments are the best comments. I also suspect that your kiddo would think this was ‘nice’ too.

  2. ellymillar says:

    Nigella has a treacle pudding (with dates and muscavado sugar) using the same method – it’s fantastic. Her chocolate one isn’t as good though, so eager to try this. Thanks, Will!

  3. Will says:

    Get involved Elly, and let me know how it turns out.

    Intrigued by the dates in treacle pudding – it might be enough to increase my enthusiasm for a dessert which I’m a bit ambivalent about. And you’ve reminded me that my mum used to regularly whip up batches of buttery date scones when I was a kid – another recipe I need to get from her.

  4. Luke says:

    My mum used to make a lemon version of this when I was a kid – I need to get the recipe from her, but as I remember it goes a step further – you mix all the ingredients together, and bake it in the oven in a water bath which comes up halfway to the pudding dish.

    During the cooking the mixture separates out into light sponge on top, and thick gooey lemon sauce below the waterline.

  5. Will says:

    There’s a lemon version that I’ve done from Bill Granger’s ‘Holiday’ book – it sounds exactly like what you’re describing. It’s also pretty easy, the only major difference is that you separate the eggs and beat the whites to get the air and lift in the pudding, rather than use self-raising flour. That (also Australian) recipe can be found here – http://cookingtomusic.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/bill-grangers-lemon-delicious-puddings/

  6. Luke says:

    I’m not sure about using an Australian recipe.

  7. Will says:

    racist. do you never cook pavlova?

  8. ellymillar says:

    There’s a lemon pudding like that in one of the Roast Chicken and Other Stories cookbooks.

    Will, I cooked this on Friday night – it got a big thumbs-up all around. Great!

    • Will says:

      Delighted that you tried it, and even more delighted to hear that you liked it too. I keep meaning to do your lentil dish, I’ll report when I finally get round to it.

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