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):
75g self-raising flour (75g plain flour plus 1tsp baking powder works too)
2 tblsps cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
100g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tblsp milk
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.
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.