Borrachuelo con Salsa de Arroz

Sweet Brandy-Soaked Chocolate Sponge with Rice Pudding Sauce

Borrachuelo means drunkard. It refers to the amount of rum and brandy-flavoured jarabe (syrup) this chocolate sponge soaks up. This is a good recipe for sponge, as it is lightened by egg whites and leavened by yeast, which also gives it a nutty richness.

When making the sponge, make sure the equipment is really clean because any fat or oil will stop the egg whites from fluffing up. The other little tip is to always think light when making a sponge — a gentle touch will help keep the sponge nice and airy.

The other delight is the rice pudding sauce. It is remarkably easy to make and so delicious. If you keep on cooking it and reduce the milk it becomes rice pudding! This dish is also excellent with some fresh goat’s curd or a little drizzle of leatherwood honey.

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Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 820 g (1 lb 13 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh yeast
  • 125 g ( oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 70 g ( oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 350 ml (12 fl oz) brandy
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) white rum
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) dark Jamaican rum (optional)
  • rind of 2 oranges, cut into large strips
  • rind of 2 lemons, cut into large strips
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 100 g ( oz) Calasparra rice, rinsed and drained

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Line a 22 × 26 × 5 cm (8½ × 10½ × 2 inch) cake tin with baking paper then brush with a little melted butter.

Gently whisk the egg yolks and 90 g ( oz) of the sugar together in a bowl for 2 minutes until the consistency of thick, foamy cream.

Break the yeast into small pieces then add to the egg yolks and sugar. Mash the yeast with the back of a fork until there are no lumps and whisk to mix through.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they keep their shape but before they form soft peaks. Gradually add 90 g ( oz) of sugar to the whisked eggs, continuing to whisk gently, for 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Continue whisking until the egg whites form soft peaks.

Add a third of the beaten egg white to the egg yolk mixture and whisk together to just combine then very gently fold the remaining whites through the yolks until just combined. There should be no white lumps, but be careful not to beat out the air.

Sieve the flour and cocoa together into a large bowl then sieve onto the egg mixture, one-third at a time, gently folding each addition through. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack, remove the baking paper and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, put 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) of the sugar, the brandy, rums, half of the lemon and orange rind strips, star anise and 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water in a saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, or until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until just warm.

Using a long serrated knife, carefully cut off and discard the thin layer of upper ‘crust’ on the sponge, to help soak up some of the jarabe. Cut the sponge into six equal portions and put these into a 22 × 26 cm (8½ × 10½ inch) non-metallic dish. Pour most of the warm jarabe over the sponge. Using the back of a spoon gently ‘push’ the jarabe into the cake. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to soak for several hours, occasionally spooning over the remaining jarabe.

To make the rice pudding sauce, put the milk, remaining orange and lemon rind, the cinnamon sticks and remaining sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then, as soon as the milk starts to boil, add the rice. Return to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool just a little before removing and discarding the orange and lemon rind and cinnamon sticks. Blend in a food processor for several minutes until smooth.

To serve, place the soaked sponge pieces onto a plate and spoon over any residual jarabe and then the rice pudding sauce.