Autumn has well and truly arrived. The leaves have turned wonderful shades of russet red and golden amber, the daylight in dwindling and there is a distinct chill in the air. Autumn also marks the start of some of my favourite foods – squashes and root vegetables. Probably the most famous squash around this time is the pumpkin. When you say ‘pumpkin’ most people instantly think of the large orange pumpkins that are sold in supermarkets and destined to be turned into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. However, there is an almost numerous variety of pumpkins and squashes available, in a whole assortment of weird and wonderful shapes and colours so do try and hunt out some different ones.
Thanks to my obsession with food, when I recently heard the word ‘pumpkin’ I instantly thought of all the tasty baked pumpkin goodies I have recently seen appearing on blogs worldwide. One of the most popular choices this year seems to be pumpkin swirl chocolate brownies, as presented here by Liz, Joe and Esi. I decided it was high time I experimented with a sweet baked pumpkin treat myself (something which is not that common here in the UK) and loved the idea of combining it with chocolate. I have had a chocolate self saucing pudding recipe on my ‘to bake’ list for some time and decided to try and incorporate the two. This gooey looking pudding is the result!
I made my own pumpkin puree by cutting a pumpkin into chunks and then steaming it until tender and mashing it with a potato masher. This particular self saucing pudding is a little different to others I have tried, as it doesn’t contain any butter, only a little oil and no egg in the chocolate batter, so along with the added pumpkin puree you don’t need to feel too guilty eating it – just don’t look too closely at the sugar content. I added spices and a little cayenne to the pumpkin batter which added to the overall flavour but was not an obvious flavour. You mix the two batters separately and then swirl them together. I love how striking the two contrasting colours were, it was almost a shame to cover the surface with the sauce ingredients and flood it with water, but the resulting glossy chocolaty sauce was worth it.
Most self saucing puddings result in the sauce seeping to the bottom of the dish with the cakey batter on top. This did happen with my pudding but not all the sauce made it to the bottom. I think this was probably because the pumpkin made my batter heavier than a standard batter, resulting in a quirky bumpy pudding with pools of glossy sauce still flooding the surface, not quite what I planned but no less delicious.
I was thrilled when I took my first spoonful of the pudding to find the pudding underneath still nicely marbled pumpkin and chocolate and surrounded by plenty of the thick glossy chocolate sauce. This is not a light and fluffy pudding but if you like sticky, fudgy, stick-to-your-ribs type puddings then this is the one for you! Its definitely a comfort food and best eaten straight away, as the pudding starts to soak up the sauce if left until cold. This makes it go rather stodgy, but still oddly comforting. Some sauce does reappear if gently heated in the microwave. So although not one of the prettiest puddings I’ve made, it was certainly very tasty.
On a different note, you will notice that from now on I will be adding a watermark to my photos. This is because the lovely Elise from Simply Recipes alerted me to the fact that there is some guy completely ripping off/plagiarising my blog posts, blurb, recipes, photos, the lot!! I hope that he will cease to use my work once the photos come with a watermark – this is not ideal but I hope it will stop him! He’s doing it to other people too so be vigilant and look out for your friends!
Swirled Pumpkin & Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding
For the pumpkin batter
120g self raising flour
¼ tsp cayenne or chilli powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g mashed cooked pumpkin
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
For the chocolate batter
150g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp neutral oil
For the sauce
70g light soft brown sugar
20g cocoa powder
1 tbsp cornflour
400ml boiling water
Preheat the oven to 180C and have a deep 9inch/23cm baking dish to hand.
To make the pumpkin batter simple add all the ingredients into a medium bowl and beat everything together, using an electric mixer, until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
In another clean bowl, add all the ingredients for the chocolate batter and beat until smooth. (Both batters will be quite soft).
Spoon large dollops of the pumpkin and chocolate batters into the baking dish, alternating each variety with every spoonful. Use a skewer or small knife to swirl the batters together to create a marbled effect.
To make the sauce, mix the brown sugar, cornflour and cocoa powder together in a small bowl. Scatter the sugar-cocoa mixture evenly over the surface of the pudding batter.
Boil the kettle and pour the 400ml of boiling water over the surface of the sugar-cocoa mix.
Carefully transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The batter should start to rise up above the surface of the liquid as it thickens and seeps below to form a sauce. The batter protruding from the sauce should feel firm and springy to the touch when ready. (Some of the sauce will remain on the surface)
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Best eaten straight away, as the pudding absorbs most of the sauce if left until cold. (This makes it go rather stodgy, but oddly comforting.)