Despite recent posts, I am not a big drinker. No, really! A nice chilly G&T at the end of a hot day in summer is very refreshing, and a glass or two of bubbles when I stay at my parents, or on a night out if I’m not driving, is de-lovely. But truly, that’s about it.
But, boozy cooking? Ooh yeah. Now we’re talking. My first thought when making a risotto is, white wine or vermouth in this? If it’s Spanish flavoured with smoky paprika, I’ll reach for the sherry. Sherry is such an ‘old ladies drink’ — you’d never catch me sipping it — but a slurp in that risotto or in a pear dessert (or just stewed pears) is divine. And while they aren’t called upon as much, there’s always a bottle of ginger wine and brandy in the cupboard, just in case. I love the depth and mellowness of flavour that a judicious slosh of all these liquors can add to a dish.
Of course, anything chocolate-y, like a brownie, begs for a little booze: maybe some Frangelico or Tia Maria, depending on my mood. It brings out the best in chocolate and makes a fudgy dessert even more decadent. So even though this pudding already has chocolate and coffee in it, I added a good measure of Tia Maria. It seems to deepen and enrich those dark flavours. It makes it a bit more grown up.
Coffee-choc self-saucing pudding
Adapted from a Donna Hay magazine, date unknown. This makes a very modest size dessert — it lasted only three days with me, so for a family, I wouldn’t expect you’d get seconds. After a day or two, the coffee flavour will become even more intense (if it lasts that long).
- Preheat your oven to 180 and butter a medium sized baking dish.
- In a small measuring jug or bowl, melt 35 gms butter. Then add ½ cup milk, 1 egg, 1 tspn vanilla and 1/3 cup Tia Maria. Mix well.
- In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup plain flour, 1 ½ tspn baking powder, 1 tbspn instant coffee, 1 tbspn cocoa, ¼ cup almond meal and ¼ cup brown sugar.
- To these dry ingredients add the liquid, and stir to combine. Pour into your baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup brown sugar, 1 ½ tbspns cocoa, 1 cup water and a slosh of Tia Maria (probably about 1 tbspn). Stir and gently bring to the boil, then remove from heat.
- Pour gently over the back of a large spoon onto your pudding (does that make sense?).
- Bake for about 35 minutes until firm but with still a bit of give; if you insert a knife you should see two even layers: a jelly-thick sauce layer on the bottom and the cake layer on top.
- Serve warm with a dusting of snowy icing sugar, and a blob of melting ice cream or cream. It’s also surprisingly good fridge-cold.