Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard is the ultimate in pudding decadence. Warm and sticky gluten-free chocolate pudding steamed on the stove top then served with lashings of rich chocolate custard.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

This Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard takes me right back to childhood. I have been craving it for weeks but my irritating lack of time lately has meant the recipe has just sat taunting me on my laptop every time I switch it on. It was a pudding which was on constant rotation during school dinners at my primary school and I have been longing to recreate it in my own kitchen. I went to a small country primary school of only a hundred children. The school itself was just one small building with no separate dining room. We would all be seated on large tables of about 10 children, laid out in the assembly room through to the three classrooms, which were all more or less open plan. The dinner ladies called up each table one by one to line up for our hot lunch served by two cooks who always looked harassed. One tall and stern and the other short and jolly. We stood patiently at the front of the assembly room as they stood behind their trolleys dolloping out food from metals trays and huge mason cash mixing bowls.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

First we would line up for our main course and I’m sorry to say I can’t remember a single main meal that we had. Probably shepherds pie but after that I’m a bit stumped. I think it’s very clear where my allegiances lay even in those early days as the puddings I have no problems recalling. After our main meal had been cleared away each table would be called up again to line up for our pudding. Always hot and always served with custard so thick you could stand a spoon up in it.

There was spotted dick or vicarage pudding (which was pretty much the same as spotted dick) or treacle sponge with vanilla custard, jam roly poly with strawberry custard or the pudding every child revered, chocolate pudding with chocolate custard.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Chocolate custard isn’t something which you come across much these days. Pubs might serve a crumble with a bit of weak vanilla sauce if you’re lucky, the likes of which would be laughed out the door at Chilton Foliat Primary School. Proper nursery custard that has body and a life of its own outside its sponge or crumble accompaniment is little seen. Let alone the rarity of a strawberry or chocolate custard. And forget Bird’s custard (which I don’t have an issue with as such) but homemade custard with double cream, eggs and sugar is a five minute job and in another world of its own. Add a bit of cocoa powder to proceedings and chocolate custard will suddenly become the most important food discovery to emerge from your kitchen since toast.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

This Chocolate Sponge Pudding is old school as well. Steamed in a pudding basin, the old fashioned way. Steamed puddings are few and far between these days but this Chocolate Pudding will encourage you to rediscover them. It is so quick to pull together, perhaps a little bit faffy to sort out the lid of the pudding basin and make sure you have a big stockpot large enough to fit it in, but really only five more minutes of prep time. It does steam for 1½ hours so a little longer than a sponge you might bang in the oven but really there is no bother and technically no baking involved so a great pudding if your oven is on the blink.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

That’s not even to mention the sheer indulgence of the Chocolate Pudding itself. Sticky on the top from the rich ganache you cleverly nestled into the bottom of the basin which then soaked alluringly into the sponge during steaming. The pudding is moist and almost gooey in the centre and is the part you really want to get your spoon stuck into as you are serving it up. It’s an ideal pudding in my chocaholic frame of mind and utterly lives up to all of my cravings. Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard is exactly what weekend puds are all about.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Print Recipe
Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}
Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard is the ultimate in pudding decadence. Warm and sticky gluten-free chocolate pudding steamed on the stove top then served with lashings of rich chocolate custard.
Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
Chocolate Sponge Pudding
  • 100 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 100 g double cream
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80 g almond flour
  • 70 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Custard
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75 g soft light brown sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
Chocolate Sponge Pudding
  • 100 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 100 g double cream
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80 g almond flour
  • 70 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Custard
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75 g soft light brown sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}
Instructions
Chocolate Sponge Pudding
  1. Prepare a 1.1lt pudding basin by placing a small circle of greaseproof paper into the bottom of the basin and greasing well.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or a bowl over a simmering saucepan of water.
  3. Once melted stir in the double cream and golden syrup and pour into the bottom of the pudding basin. Set aside whilst you prepare the sponge.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla extract.
  6. Sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt then beat into the rest of the sponge mixture.
  7. Pour the sponge mixture into the pudding basin on top of the chocolate cream and smooth the top.
  8. Cut a large circle of greaseproof paper and tin foil to fit over the top of the basin with a very generous overlap. Lay the tin foil on top of the greaseproof paper then make a pleat in the centre of the two.
  9. Place the greaseproof paper/foil lid over the top of the basin, greaseproof paper down, and use string to secure the lid, tying the string just underneath the lip of the basin. Cut away the excess paper just underneath the string.
  10. Place a metal trivet or a folded up tea towel in the bottom of a large stockpot or saucepan and then place the pudding basin on top so that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot.
  11. Fill the pot halfway up the sides of the pudding basin with boiling water then place the lid on the pot. Bring the water up to boil then turn down to simmer for 1½ hours. Check the water level every so often to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.
  12. Once ready, remove the pudding basin carefully from the stockpot, remove the paper/foil lid and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Serve warm with plenty of custard.
Chocolate Custard
  1. To make the custard, first whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder and a drop of the cream to make a thick paste.
  2. Heat the cream up in a medium sized saucepan until just below boiling point then pour a small amount into the cocoa paste and whisk it in. Pour a little more hot cream in and then a little more, whisking all the while until all the cream has been added and the custard is smooth.
  3. Pour back into the saucepan and heat up until just boiling, whisking all the time.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve liberally over the chocolate pudding. I served mine with a little extra double cream poured over as well just to be audacious.

SHOP THE RECIPE

I love my Cornishware Blue and White Stripe Pudding Basin 1.1L 40oz which I use for all my steamed puddings, it’s so beautiful and sturdy and is about to really come into its own as I make my Christmas Pudding in the next couple of weeks.

The link above is an affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund the blog so if you do click through then many thanks!!

‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles

‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.

‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.

‘Nduja is my new favourite ingredient. It’s a rich smoky and spicy spreadable salami originating from Calabria which you can use in just about anything. I had an ‘nudja bloody mary at Jamie’s Fifteen and I’ve been sold on its versatility as an ingredient ever since.

‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.

If you ever want to experiment with an ingredient then chocolate truffles are the way to go. It’s hard to find anything chocolate doesn’t get on famously with. Chocolate and chilli is a classic combo and a pairing with ‘nduja is just a little more complex than that. ‘Nduja is strong stuff so a little goes a long way but nothing that a healthy amount of chocolate and cream can’t handle.

‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.

I have been using a very fruity Madagascan 70% chocolate lately for all my recipes and oh my this chocolate is out of this world. If you can find something similar then I would heartily recommend it but if not then just get the best 70% chocolate you can afford.

‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.

And if you are finding ‘nduja hard to get hold of then a specialist supplier might be your best bet. I sourced mine from Cannon and Cannon, a british charcuterie producer at the farmers’ market but have heart as Ocado have just started stocking ‘nduja too.

‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.

These ‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are pretty easy to make once you’ve sourced the good stuff. I would recommend making them for a really special someone, or to impress at a dinner party. They will certainly be a talking point. I, of course, made them on a whim on a Saturday evening and had scoffed most of them by Monday, so the rest had to be shipped off to Luke’s office. I am nothing but the perfect role model.

Print Recipe
‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles
Fruity Chocolate Truffles with a hint of smoky sweet spicy 'nduja
‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
15 Truffles
Ingredients
  • 225 g dark chocolate
  • 200 g whipping cream
  • 50 g ‘nduja roughly chopped
  • 3 teaspoons light muscovado sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
15 Truffles
Ingredients
  • 225 g dark chocolate
  • 200 g whipping cream
  • 50 g ‘nduja roughly chopped
  • 3 teaspoons light muscovado sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
‘Nduja Chocolate Truffles are a little bit special. The hint of the smoky chilli in the ‘nduja makes these truffles incredibly complex and totally moreish.
Instructions
  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces then put into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Pour the cream, ‘nduja and sugar into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  3. Pour the ‘nduja cream into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring intermittently. Rest for a minute so as not to scorch the chocolate.
  4. Pour the ‘nduja cream over the chocolate pieces and stir together so the chocolate melts completely into the cream, turning into a thick ganache.
  5. Rest the ganache in the fridge for one hour to achieve a rolling consistency.
  6. Remove the ganache from the fridge and shape your truffles by rolling into about 15 small balls in your hands.
  7. To finish roll the truffles in a dusting of cocoa powder.
Recipe Notes
  • You can coat the truffles in tempered chocolate if you like instead of the cocoa powder by following these instructions. It’s a bit more involved but would make for an even more impressive truffle.

Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate

This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.

This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.

I have been looking for a dairy-free hot chocolate for ages as although I love hot chocolate, my body gets mighty furious with me if I attempt to drink a whole glass of milk. Ever since I was a child I have not been able to handle a lot of dairy.

This is obviously in high contention with the fact that I love dairy and during these frosty November days there is nothing better than a creamy hot chocolate. Suddenly I am dreaming of the chocolate caliente you can order in Spain, so thick you need to eat it with a spoon.

This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.

The sipping chocolate I make at home has always relied upon coconut milk as a substitution but it’s so easy to overdo coconut, the taste becomes all consuming and a bit off-putting so my wintry cravings for hot chocolate have been a little stunted. However, when I read about the trend of putting banana milk in coffee to make the milk taste creamier without adding a taste of banana I wondered if I could use this in some way to aid my chocolate.

This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.

The banana is blended first with the milk (in this case coconut milk) which makes the milk thick and luscious but also seems to neutralise the heavy coconut edge. You need to be careful about how much banana you add in as otherwise it can go the other way and be too bananary but the quantity below works really well.

The great thing about the banana is that it also adds natural sweetness so you don’t need to worry about adding sugar. Gosh, it’s almost a health food if you think about it. Don’t think about it too hard though.

This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.

Unfortunately I now have another problem with my hot chocolate as it’s far too easy to make and it is getting pretty cold out there. Is it a hot chocolate a day keeps the doctor away or am I getting confused with something else? No no, I think I’ve got it right.

This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.
Print Recipe
Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate
This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate takes just 3 ingredients and 5 minutes.
This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 75 g chocolate chips 70% cocoa solids. If you want the hot chocolate to be 100% dairy-free then you must use chocolate with no added milk.
  • 275 ml coconut milk
  • ½ banana about 50g
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g coconut cream see notes
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • large marshmallows to serve
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 75 g chocolate chips 70% cocoa solids. If you want the hot chocolate to be 100% dairy-free then you must use chocolate with no added milk.
  • 275 ml coconut milk
  • ½ banana about 50g
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g coconut cream see notes
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • large marshmallows to serve
This Ultra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate only needs 3 ingredients and five minutes of your time to warm your cockles and sweeten your day.
Instructions
  1. Blend the coconut milk and banana until smooth.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and bring the milk up to a very gentle boil, then immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Leave for a minute or so to avoid scalding the chocolate, then pour the milk, through a sieve to remove any banana lumps, over the chocolate chips.
  4. Stir really well so the chocolate melts and then becomes a beautifully smooth liquid.
  5. Pour into glasses.
  6. If you want to serve with coconut cream, then whip the coconut cream for a minute in a food mixer with a teaspoon of honey, then dollop on top of the hot chocolate. Squidge a large toasted marshmallow on the top also if you fancy.
Recipe Notes
  • If you can’t get hold of tinned coconut cream then it’s easy to make using coconut milk. Just place the tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, whereupon the cream will separate from the water. The next day when you open the tin, you can just scoop up the cream from the top of the tin. A 400g of coconut milk will create about 200g of coconut cream.

The Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

Gosh Rocky Road is dangerous. It’s the kind of treat which you would make with kids in mind, maybe it’s a birthday party, or the school cake sale. It’s fine, it’s for the children, I am doing such a nice thing for them. Now here, let’s load it with sprinkles as that’s what children like.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

Now you might not really call yourself a sprinkles person, they look pretty but don’t really tell you what you’re about to eat is anything more than a fun whimsical food. Nothing I can’t handle. Here would be your mistake. You are underestimating this rocky road as you think you are making it for the children and the sprinkles are evidence of that.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

You are wrong, this Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road is sheer nirvana, for adults and children alike, and if you are tempted to try a small square whilst you are cutting it up or arranging on the plate then don’t say I didn’t warn you as it will be highly likely that your lovingly prepared treats will not make it to little Jimmy’s birthday party and probably won’t contribute to raising money for new equipment for the school gym.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

The best case scenario is that you don’t eat the whole batch yourself. And if you think I’m exaggerating then let’s break it down.

Do you like chocolate? Why yes, I love chocolate. Do you like marshmallows? Well, I wouldn’t say no to them toasted over a campfire. What about sweet n’ salty popcorn? Does ordering a jumbo bucket at the cinema every Saturday evening count? Yes it does. Then yes, I’m in for popcorn. Glace cherries perhaps? They have a certain retro charm. Biscuits? Oh yes, dunked in my tea at 4pm every day. Some roasted cashews? Naturally, they are part of my very healthy lifestyle. Now mix the lot together and Bob’s your bingo, your diet is done-zo.

I should know, I have had several batches of this Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road come and go out of my fridge for the past two weeks and there is no saving me. And what’s more, I don’t think I want to be saved.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
Print Recipe
The Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road
This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
Servings
16
Ingredients
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g milk chocolate
  • 175 g soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100 g sweet n’salty popcorn see notes for recipe
  • 125 g biscuits chopped and a little crushed (I use gluten-free Hobnobs but if you are ok with gluten then I recommend using biscoff biscuits)
  • 75 g unsalted roasted cashews
  • 125 g glace cherries diced
  • 125 g mini marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles
Servings
16
Ingredients
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g milk chocolate
  • 175 g soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100 g sweet n’salty popcorn see notes for recipe
  • 125 g biscuits chopped and a little crushed (I use gluten-free Hobnobs but if you are ok with gluten then I recommend using biscoff biscuits)
  • 75 g unsalted roasted cashews
  • 125 g glace cherries diced
  • 125 g mini marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles
This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
Instructions
  1. Line and grease a 12 inch x 9 inch cake tin.
  2. In a bain marie melt the chocolate with the butter and golden syrup.
  3. Once melted pour in, in this order, the biscuit pieces, the nuts, the glace cherries, the popcorn, remove from the heat, then pour in the mini marshmallows. Coat thoroughly with the chocolate.
  4. Pour the rocky road into the prepared tin, then scatter the sprinkles evenly over the top. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.
  5. Remove from the fridge and cut into squares.
Recipe Notes

Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake

This Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake is dark, rich and intense. A sublime treat for your afternoon tea.

Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake

I’m making my Seville orange marmalade this week which meant that I needed to finish the scrapings at the bottom of last year’s jar to make room for the new.

Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake

The marmalade had not been easy to spread on toast for a few months now as the surface had crystallised a little but the intense zesty bitter flavour was still all there and I found that once I had sawn through the solid sugar structure with gritted teeth this cake turned out to be the perfect way to make use of the dregs. It might have lost its lustre but last year’s marmalade has managed to find a new lease of life paired with chocolate, ricotta and pine nuts. I mean, what ingredient wouldn’t? Of course you are more than welcome to make this cake with this season’s offering, you certainly don’t have to be using 2015’s rejects.

Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake

My life is full of to-do, should-really-do and must-do-upon-point-of-death lists at the moment, none of which ever really get completely crossed of by the end of the day. However, cakes always seem to jump to the top of the queue, ahead of taking my pile of unloved clothing, which I keep tripping over every morning, to the charity shop, or paying that cheque into the bank, or even finding that blasted cheque which no longer seems to be sitting proudly on my mantelpiece where I placed it very safely about three months ago.

Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake

So when I decided that the marmalade had to go in a cake the ingredients magically gathered themselves up and jumped into a baking tin without so much as consulting any of my lists. I blame the ricotta. Mmm ricotta, just seeing the word on the screen makes me want to dollop it into and onto everything I eat. It’s ideal here, adding such a luxurious dampness to the cake without imparting heaviness.

Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake

The marriage of flavours is so lovely and subtle that this cake is fit for any purpose. The newly revived marmalade just adds a hint of tang with the occasional rind peeking through the sponge as well as a wonderful jammy blanket to the top – the glaze is definitely all important. The toasted pine nuts were a last minute addition but integral to give a welcome break in texture. I don’t think I need to convince you about the chocolate.

Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake

So my to-do list may be never-ending but at least I can end the day with a slice of darkly decadent cake and the promise of tomorrow’s marmalade.

Print Recipe
Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake
A dark rich chocolate loaf cake with the slight bitter tang of marmalade and studded with toasted pine nuts
Dark Chocolate Orange Ricotta Pine Nut Loaf
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Servings
10-12 people
Ingredients
  • 250 g dark chocolate I used a mixture of 70% and 54%
  • 75 g pine nuts
  • 300 g ricotta
  • 175 g light soft brown sugar
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 g Seville orange marmalade + 2 tablespoons for glazing
  • 200 g plain flour *for gluten-free version see notes
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Servings
10-12 people
Ingredients
  • 250 g dark chocolate I used a mixture of 70% and 54%
  • 75 g pine nuts
  • 300 g ricotta
  • 175 g light soft brown sugar
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 g Seville orange marmalade + 2 tablespoons for glazing
  • 200 g plain flour *for gluten-free version see notes
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Dark Chocolate Orange Ricotta Pine Nut Loaf
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C then line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and set aside.
  3. Scatter the pine nuts onto a baking tray (reserving about 20g to keep untoasted) then bake them in the oven for about 8 minutes until very lightly toasted. Set aside.
  4. Place the ricotta, brown sugar, olive oil, eggs and marmalade in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
  5. Pour the melted chocolate in then and stir thoroughly into the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl then add into the mixture and beat until just combined.
  7. Finally fold in the toasted pine nuts then pour it all into the loaf tin.
  8. Scatter the remaining untoasted pine nuts over the top of the mixture, pressing down to slightly submerge into the batter.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for about 90 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.
  11. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of marmalade in a small saucepan then brush over the top of the cake to glaze.
  12. Leave to cool completely before serving.
Recipe Notes

 

Inspired by Emiko Davies’ Ricotta and Dark Chocolate Cake

*For a gluten-free version of the cake simply substitute the 200g of plain flour for 100g ground almonds and 100g gluten-free plain flour

Nanaimo Bars

Nanimo Bars

The only way I know about Nanaimo Bars is through Pinterest. I can happily spend hours on Pinterest, admiring, ogling and salivating over food from other bloggers around the globe. I went off it for a while when I had a life, busying myself with market stalls, cake commissions and my regular blog posts. However at the moment when days of activity seems light years ago and the only energy I have is to move my fingers around my tracking pad my desire to while away my maternity leave loitering on the internet has become all consuming.

Nanimo Bars

They say that every pregnancy is different; some women can work around their burgeoning bump, jumping on the tube, commanding boardrooms and being superwomen. One of my new antenatal friends is even zipping around the stage in the West End performing in The Commitments. I don’t know whether I am a complete wuss or just unlucky but what I do know is that baby-to-be is zapping all my get up and go. Oh, I still have the motivation in my head but when I stand up I topple over and my morning walks with Billy Buddy leave me clutching lampposts and streets signs for support after about ten minutes.

Basically this is my long winded way of saying that I am sorry for not posting as frequently as usual and that my newsletter has fallen completely by the wayside but I am totally knackered. The puppy who has just had a second operation to repair his dodgy knee is putting me to shame, running rings around me and flaunting his recovery with a deliberate smugness if you ask me.

However, this is why you know these Nanaimo Bars I want to talk to you about today are worth a bit of a looksee, since this week I have made them more than once, a little bit of a late stage pregnancy record for me. They were extremely delicious when I made them on Tuesday but not quiiiite right and they deserved a bit of recipe tweaking before I shared them with you. So yesterday I drove to the supermarket like a normal person and bought more eggs, digestive biscuits and desiccated coconut in order to perfect them.

Nanimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars, if you haven’t heard of them, are from Canada, named after the west coast city of Nanaimo in British Columbia and have been voted in the past Canada’s most popular confection. But as I say I only know about them via Pinterest and before this week I had never eaten a Nanaimo Bar in my life. However all sorts of variations of the bar have been filling up my Pinterest board for months desperate for me to give them a go. The key components of these no-bake bars are a biscuit/nutty layer at the bottom, followed by a squidgy middle layer of custard and then topped with chocolate. Most of the recipes I have come across include coconut in the bottom biscuit layer which I think is due to Joyce Hardcastle who included coconut in her award-winning recipe from 1985 to find the ultimate Nanaimo Bar recipe. Who am I to argue with the ultimate recipe so I have included toasted desiccated coconut as well as almonds in my version.

Nearly all the recipes I found in my research as well were happy for instant pudding mix or Birds’ custard powder to be substituted in the middle layer but I deemed this unacceptable when a good old-fashioned vanilla custard is very easy to whip up and something you don’t need to be daunted by. The taste of fresh vanilla pods spiking through the custard is incomparable.

I finished my bar with a topping of molten chocolate, stirred through with a dollop of sour cream to add a bit more fudginess. The end result was delicious, but then how can you go wrong when you are working with this line-up of ingredients. It was so good it was well worth getting off the sofa for, not once but twice.

Nanimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Makes 12 bars

Bottom Chocolate Biscuit Layer:
50g 75% dark chocolate
115g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
40g cocoa
1 egg, lightly beaten
160g digestives, crushed (you can use gluten-free digestives)
45g whole blanched almonds, toasted then roughly chopped
75g desiccated coconut, toasted

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie then add the sugar and cocoa and stir in until a smooth liquid has formed.
  2. Pour the molten chocolate into the beaten egg carefully, whisking all the while until it has completely blended. Pour everything back into the bain marie and continue to whisk together until it has formed a thick custard.
  3. Remove from the heat, then stir in the crushed digestives, almonds and coconut.
  4. Tip into a lined and greased 8-inch square baking tin, pressing into an even layer then place it the fridge to set for 1 hour.

Middle Custard Layer:
320ml whole milk
½ vanilla pod, halved with seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
115g caster sugar
50g flour (you can use gluten-free plain flour)

  1. Pour the milk into a smallish saucepan and add the vanilla pod and seeds.
  2. Heat until just under boiling point and turn off the heat.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened then add the flour mixing until completely incorporated.
  4. Very carefully pour the warm milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to stop the egg from curdling.
  5. Once all the milk has been incorporated into the eggs pour back into the saucepan then bring up to a careful boil whisking continuously until the mixture is very thick and smooth.
  6. Take off the heat and pour over the top of the choco-coconut bottom layer, spreading out evenly. Sit some cling film over the top of the custard layer to stop a skin from forming then place in the fridge for about an hour to cool and set.

Chocolate Ganache Top Layer:
150g 54% dark chocolate (or 75g milk chocolate + 75g dark chocolate)
30g salted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.
  3. Pour the chocolate ganache over the custard layer then place in the fridge to chill and set.
  4. Sprinkle some chocolate shavings over the top if you like.
  5. Once the top layer has set then cut into bars and guzzle down to your heart’s content.