To be honest, this week's Bakeoff theme filled me with dread - it's dessert week, and as somebody that's really not a fan of cheesecake or meringue my options felt very limited! I dabbled with the idea of tarting up a crumble, the only dessert we really tend to savour in our household, but I felt there was just too little baking involved! So I had a mercy dash through our cookbook stash and found a recipe from Lorraine Pascale that looked appetising. The recipe is almost entirely hers, short of a little improvisation with a bottle of amaretto, but thanks Lorraine for saving the day this week, even if it did mean completely sabotaging my parents' post-holiday diet!
In last week's bake I focused a lot on the flavours and technicalities but ended up with a loaf that was very simple in appearance (bear with me guys, I'm a bit of a baking amateur) and upon seeing everyone else's beautiful creations I vowed to make more of an effort when it came to appearance this week. However, this week it all went a bit wrong: the nature of the recipe meant my dessert pretty much fell apart when I turned it out, still, I decided to post it anyway because I've really enjoyed taking part in this challenge even if my bakes aren't always as pretty as they could be! At least it tasted amazing - consider this bake the porn star of desserts: it's really naughty, messy, over-the-top and inelegant, but some will consider it a very satisfying, very guilty pleasure!
This recipe is for a steamed chocolate and amaretto pudding with a warm Mars Bar sauce: you will require a 1.5 litre capacity pudding basin, a pan large enough to stand the basin in comfortably with plenty of room for a lid, and the following ingredients:
For the pudding:
225g soft light brown sugar
225g butter, softened
2 drops vanilla extract
25ml amaretto liqueur (at least, I used 25ml, but a shot or two extra wouldn't hurt!)
1tbsp baking powder
50g cocoa powder
50g ground almonds
Pinch of salt
For the sauce:
5 Mars bars
75g melted butter
Start by lightly greasing the pudding bowl with butter. Add the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream together. Add two eggs, the vanilla, half the flour and the baking powder, and beat well. When combined, add the remaining eggs, the rest of the flour, and all of the cocoa and beat very well until combined.
When the mixture is smooth and well beaten, stir in the ground almonds, salt, and amaretto. Put aside.
Put the ingredients for the Mars bar sauce into a small pan and melt over a low heat, stirring so it does not burn. Over time it will become smooth and glossy. Once it has melted, pour a quarter of the sauce into the bottom of the pudding basin and set the rest aside.
Add the rest of the chocolate pudding mixture into the pudding basin, on top of the sauce.
Brush a piece of foil with vegetable oil and secure over the top of the pudding basin, leaving enough room for the pudding to rise during cooking. Secure the foil under the rim of the bowl with a piece of string. Create a handle using string so you can lift the pudding basin in and out of the big pan.
Lower the pudding basin into the big pan and put the kettle on to boil. Pour the hot water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the pudding basin, and simmer gently for 1.5 hours. You may need to top up the water every now and again.
Five minutes before the pudding is ready reheat the remaining Mars bar sauce and keep warm. Remove the basin from the pan using the string handle, then take off the string and foil (be wary of steam, and the container stays hot for a long time!) Above is how the cake looked with the foil removed.
Place a large bowl on top of the basin and (using oven gloves) turn the pudding upside down. Carefully remove the basin. Above is a picture from the recipe book, of how the pudding should look! (From Lorraine Pascale's 2011 book, 'Home Cooking Made Easy') However, I think I waited five minutes too long to turn out the pudding, causing the Mars bar sauce to set and stick to the bottom of the basin. Mine came apart as we removed the basin, resulting in a big messy pile of pudding, whoops!
However, it still looked delicious - check out that molten middle. If your pudding turns out perfectly, pour the sauce over the pudding and serve. As mine didn't, we poured the sauce over our individual portions.
Serve on it's own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - deliciously indulgent!
Steamed puddings usually have a very wintery feel but this was perfect for yesterday's dull, bleak weather! Be warned, this pudding is super rich - the recipe says it serves 6 but I think you could definitely stretch it to more! Anyway, sorry about the not-very-pretty recipe but I hope it at least looks tempting: I think I consider any recipe a success as long as it tastes good, even if it's not competition material! Let me know what you think of this: will you be trying this recipe?