In my last post I wrote about my dinner party/pudding club and the first of the recipes I used - the French Apple Tart. This time it's the turn of the two recipes that, I think, came in joint second place.
The first of these is the Rococoa Cake from Nigella's book, Feast: Food that Celebrates Life, a rather decadent chocolate cake layered with a zabaglione/mascarpone filling and heavily laced with rum. This one was probably the most divisive of the four puddings, with some people declaring it as their favourite and some putting in a definite fourth place. I personally loved it although it was definitely the richest of the puddings on offer and also the most complex to make. Having said that, it needs to be made the night before serving it which is always helpful. I will certainly be making it again and it would make a perfect dinner party pudding at Christmas time as the rum gives it a real festive flavour.
I'm afraid I won't be sharing the recipe for this one as the list of ingredients and instructions are pretty lengthy and it would take ages to reproduce it here. I do recommend you find yourself a copy of Feast if you don't already have one though as it's a great cookbook.
The other pudding that I've ranked in joint second place is a delicious Date and Orange Syrup Pudding that I found in Rachel Allen's book, Home Cooking. I love steamed puddings and this one turned out particularly well. For some reason I always half expect steamed puddings to be quite dense and heavy but this certainly wasn't the case this time. The sponge was light and fluffy and the orange mixed with the syrup gave lots of lovely fruity, sweet flavour. As you can see in the picture below the fruit all sank to the bottom (or top depending on how you look at it) of the sponge. I don't think it was supposed to do this but it didn't matter and actually made the sponge look quite attractive when turned out. And it still tasted great!
Date & Orange Syrup Pudding
(adapted from Home Cooking by Rachel Allen)
125g/4 1/2oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
50g/2oz pitted dates, sliced into 4-5 strips
25g/1oz raisins (small ones are best)
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
75ml/3 fl oz golden syrup
juice of 1 orange
100g/3 1/2oz caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
140g/5oz self raising flour, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1) Lightly butter a 1.25 litre/2 pint pudding basin. Place the dates, raisins and orange zest in a small bowl and mix together. Mix together the golden syrup and half the orange juice and pour it into the bottom of the basin.
2) Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each one and adding a little of the flour if the mixture appears to be curdling. Stir in the flour, then the milk and the remaining orange juice, mixing them thoroughly.
3) Fold in the dried fruits and spoon the cake mixture into the pudding basin, taking care not to mix it in with the syrup at the bottom of the basin. The mixture should come about two-thirds of the way up. Flatten the mixture with the back of the spoon.
4) Butter a piece of greaseproof paper and fold a pleat across the centre. Cover the basin with the paper, butter side down, and secure with string under the lip of the basin. Place in a steamer with a tight-fitting lid and simmer on a low heat for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours or until the top of the pudding is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remember to top up the water if necessary.
5) Remove from the steamer or pan and slide a palette knife gently around the pudding to loosen it, then invert onto a warm serving plate (one that is wider than the top of the basin). Spoon over any remaining sauce and eat while hot, served with cream or custard.