Hey folks, it’s recipe time again and we’re now in the middle of winter, right after what can only be described as the most depressing year of the century. So, I don’t know about you, but I think we could all use some serious comfort food.
This is chocolate denver pudding and it is one of the richest, gooiest, chocolatiest and most warming desserts that I know. A recipe handed down the american side of my family for generations, which always comes out at times like these.
And, today, I’m going to pass it on to you.
So, alright, this isn’t quite the original version. I am a chilli enthusiast, after all, and I did feel the need to put my own twist on the dish. But I’ve kept it mild and simple, because the star of the show is a delicious chocolate cake, cooked in its very own, molten sauce. My spices only enhance what’s already going on.
You will need:
180g plain flour
300g vanilla sugar
120g brown sugar
7 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 heaped tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon pasilla chilli powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 lidful vanilla essence
3 cardamom pods
And I’m sure that many of you are wondering what vanilla sugar is but it’s exactly what it sounds like. Sugar with vanilla in it.
You can buy it but, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend doing so because it’s so ridiculously easy to make your own. All you need is a jar, a vanilla pod, some white sugar and fair bit of time. It doesn’t even need to be a fresh pod and you can reuse the same one almost endlessly, simply by topping up the jar.
So, if you don’t have any of this sugar in your kitchen, you can substitute the plain, white sort for now. Then find yourself a vanilla pod, warm it up in some milk, make yourself the best custard ever and, finally, wash the pod off to infuse into the sugar.
Wait a month or two and you’ll be able to see just how much of a difference those fruity, real vanilla notes make to this recipe. Because no amount of essence can replicate that part of the pod but infused sugar sure can carry it into cooking. And it pairs so well with the dried fruit flavour of the pasilla, while that pepper’s earthier notes are amazing with the chocolate.
So, in short, don’t cut corners on the sugar, if you can help it. But do feel free to do so with the coffee, since it adds no discernible flavour of its own and simply serves to deepen and enrich this pudding’s chocolate core.
I’ve tried making the dish with quality brew and with instant decaf but the only difference that I’ve noticed is a better night’s sleep after the second sort. Yet it’s weak and underwhelming, if you try to remove the coffee all together. So you definitely can’t get by with just hot water.
Now, with the explanation of my ingredients out of the way, let’s get to cooking, shall we?
The very first thing that you’re going to want to do is to open up those cardamom pods – No-one wants a mouth full of perfume – and grind the seeds to as fine a powder as you can muster. Then grab a large cake tin – Or a terracotta pot, like mine – to combine them with the other dry ingredients.
After greasing your container, you’re going to want to mix in it the cardamom, flour, baking powder, pasilla powder and salt. Along with three tablespoons of the cocoa and a hundred and eighty grams of the vanilla sugar. We’re saving the rest.
Then melt in the butter and stir through the milk and vanilla essence. A flavouring which will provide more of that recognisable vanilla base note but which still needs the sugar for its fruity aromatics.
Mix that all together and then, when it’s smooth, stop mixing. No more. You have your cake batter.
From here on, we’re just chucking on toppings with reckless abandon and letting them sink down through the cake, as it cooks, to form its thick, high-cocoa sauce. So throw over everything that you were saving from before – Both sugars and the remaining chocolate – and DO NOT stir them in.
Yes, they’ll look a mess but it doesn’t matter. Because it’s all about how they’re going to taste. And besides, we’re going to drench them in coffee, anyway.
Gently pour your bean juice over the top and it really won’t look it but your dessert will be ready to bake.
Specifically at a hundred and eighty degrees for around forty minutes. Or until it’s just starting to blacken on the surface.
It’ll look all molten, bubbling away angrily, but that’s not your cake. That’s the sauce that it’s cooked in. And it’s delicious!
A beautifully rich, dark, decadent chocolate cake with an even richer, more chocolatey goo, oozing out of every slice. All infused with those fruity vanilla notes and the dark, earthy, raisin-like flavour of pasilla. As well as that green, aromatic spice.
It’s only got a
heat to it, which can be easy to miss, at first, if you serve the dish hot. Yet it tingles the lips and the tip of the tongue, when you’re done, and is all the more noticeable when you polish off the leftovers with milk or ice-cream.
It’s definitely not the spiciest recipe but its pasilla chilli plays ever so well with the rest of the pudding and it’s oh so warming, all the same.
Such a satisfying and comforting winter treat!