Dark Chocolate Pudding with Brandied Fruits

So often the pretty jars of fruits in brandy that one is given at Christmas sit on a shelf for years unopened. Here is something wonderful to do with them. The pudding has a light spongy top and a gooey underneath which blends exquisitely with the fruits. It can be served warm or cold.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 tablespoons peaches, apricots or other fruits in brandy
  • 150 g/5 oz best bitter chocolate
  • 150 g/5 oz unsalted butter
  • 150 ml/¼ pint warm water
  • 100 g/4 oz caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 25 g/1 oz self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Method

Butter a 1.7 litre/3 pint ovenproof dish — a glass one looks best. Slice any large fruits in halves or quarters and spoon the fruit and brandy syrup into the bottom of the prepared dish. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and put a roasting pan half full of water on the centre shelf.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double saucepan or a bowl set over a pan of very hot water, making sure the water is not touching the base of the bowl. Stir until melted and smooth. Add the warm water and sugar and stir again until smooth. Pour this mixture into a bigger mixing bowl. Separate the eggs, add the yolks to the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Then add the flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk until they stand in soft peaks. Fold them lightly into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon. Spoon the mixture gradually into the prepared dish on top of the fruits, put the dish into the roasting pan of water and cook for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and cook for 30 minutes longer. If you want to serve the pudding cold, sift some icing sugar on to it after it has cooled.

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