Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Soft-centred Chocolate Puddings

I don’t know if it’s the colder weather but something is bringing on my constant hankering for things sweet, particularly those of the dark chocolate kind. 

Unusually for me, when I arrived home from work I dove straight into the pantry and set to work.  No guilt feelings about “spoiling my tea” – a refrain from childhood which has stuck with me.  I wasn’t in any mood for guilt trips today.  Dessert was coming early.  There were cravings to satisfy.

Not much more than half an hour later I was consuming one of these little beauties.  Not before the obligatory photo shoot though - hurried due to the impending natural shut down of light (and the fact that I just wanted to eat one!).

I first came upon these at a friend’s house when a guest brought along all the required ingredients and set about rustling these up, employing whipping assistants (no, really!) and effortlessly presenting the puds in pretty pastel ramekins of different shades.  Glorious.

So here they are – impressive yet simple.  Serve them with single or whipped cream if you like but they tasted just fine on their own.  Craving satisfied – tick.  For now…..

I'm submitting these for Sweet New Zealand.  This month the very lovely Sue from Couscous & Consciousness  will be hosting.  More details here - check out the entries from 1 July.

Soft-centred chocolate puddings

Serves 4

200g (7oz) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
115g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bowl).  Stir until just melted.

Mix the eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl until just combined.  Gradually pour in the chocolate mixture, stirring all the time.

Pour the chocolate mix into four 1-cup size (250ml) ovenproof ramekins and place on a baking tray.  Bake for about 15 minutes until the edges are set.

Dust with icing sugar – or don’t.  It’s up to you.

As easy as that.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Raspberry Lamingtons

I confess that for years I have failed to understand the appeal of lamingtons.  Lamingtons (popular in New Zealand and Australia) are pieces of sponge cake, dipped in jelly (or chocolate), coated in coconut and topped with whipped cream and raspberry jam.

It so happens that my experience of them has always involved those that arrived at morning teas on black plastic trays with transparent plastic covers.  Yes, you get the picture - they were shop-bought.

Now that old-fashioned baking is trending as retro, home-made (or cafĂ©-made) lamingtons are popping up everywhere and I’m beginning to understand. In their purest form, they are transformed into something lighter, fresher and tastier. Less stodge, more delicate. I found myself thinking these actually taste quite good.  So finally, I made some myself.

I'm not going to say I'm a complete convert but I am no longer avoiding them, so long as I know they are homemade.  And they are such pretty little things with their pink, sprinkly coats topped with whipped cream and jam.

Raspberry Lamingtons


115g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
180g flour
1 tsp baking powder
115ml milk
1 tsp vanilla


1 packet raspberry jelly crystals
1 1/4 cups boiling water


2 cups desiccated coconut
¾ to 1 cup cream, lightly whipped
1/3 cup raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.

For the sponge, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time.

Combine the flour with the baking powder and combine the milk with the vanilla.  Add the flour mix and the liquid mix alternatively into the creamed mixture.

Spread into the lined tin and bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes.  Leave to cool.  Once the sponge is cold, cut into squares.

Make the jelly according to packet instructions (I used jelly crystals) and set it partially until it is the consistency of egg whites.

When the jelly is about the right consistency, freeze the squares for about 15 minutes (this will stop them getting all crumbly when you dip them in the jelly).

Dip each square evenly into the jelly, then dip in the coconut and leave to set.

When ready to serve, make a score across the top of the squares with a knife and spoon or pipe in a good dollop of whipped cream.  Dot with a teaspoon of raspberry jam.