Dismay at Donna Hay (sorry Donna!)36

Posted on July 3, 2008 by ChristieSweet Treats, Vegetarian

Not all their cracked up to be
[Donna Hay’s Self Saucing Chocolate Puddings]

It was with much trepidation that I posted that headline. I mean, all my Aussie readers will know what a powerful force Donna Hay is in the Australian food industry (and indeed too on the world stage) but yesterday I made one of her recipes and it didn’t work.

I followed the very short instructions carefully but I was very unhappy with results. I even got three taste testers to give me their comments (more on that in a minute) and there was mixed results. By my standards it was an absolute failure both in texture and taste.

As you know I only ever post original recipes and sometimes adaptations but I made an exception yesterday so that I could support Michelle at Thursday Night Smackdown for her First Thursdays event. Michelle is a very funny woman who loves swearing and has an excellent blog that features a recipe from her huge collection of cookbooks every Thursday.

For the very first one I wanted to feature a recipe from an Australian cooking icon and brag about how wonderful we are Down Under. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. Don’t get me wrong, I think Donna Hay is fantastic; the styling and photography in her cookbooks and magazines inspire me immensely. But this recipe did not impress me. Hay, you can’t be perfect all the time. (Sorry!)

The Bear very gently mentioned to me that maybe I hadn’t followed the recipe correctly and hence the result. I am willingly to accept that if it’s true. I think the problem is that Donna and I may have a different idea about what a self saucing pudding is. I believe the cake part on top should rise nicely and then a sticky syrupy sauce should remain underneath.

What do you think? Who is going to back me up here? Feedback please!

These puddings didn’t rise very much and then the ‘sauce’ was just uncooked cake batter underneath. I also had to cook it for 10 minutes extra than the recipe called for because I was concerned about the uncooked bit underneath. I thought if it had a bit longer in the oven then it would magically turn into sauce. I can’t help it, I always think positive.

So what did the testers have to say? (My comments in bold)

The Bear: It’s good, I like it. Nice amount of chocolate. (No, chocolate taste is bland)
My sister Nic: Soggy, no sauce. (Agreed, soggy cake batter, yuck)
Jmez (Bear’s brother): It tastes nice. (Is this some kind of sibling conspiracy?)

I realise I’m a perfectionist, but I think there’s something funny about this recipe, even though my testers liked it. I don’t think it’s true to the name. Can someone else please try it and let me know how they go?

For now, I’m going to stick with making up my own recipes. (Until the next First Thursdays event!)

Happy cooking, Christie

ps. Sorry this post is a bit negative. I’m just upset because I wanted it to go so right and it went the other way!

Self saucing chocolate puddings
recipe by Donna Hay Magazine Issue 39
serves 4

1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
1 1/2 tablespoons hazelnut meal
1/4 cup (45g) brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
35g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (90g) brown sugar, extra
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C (355F). Sift the flour, hazelnut meal, sugar, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of cocoa into a bowl. Add the milk, butter, egg and vanilla and mix well to combine.

Spoon into 4 x 1 cup-capacity (250ml) oven-proof dishes and place on a baking tray. Place the extra sugar and remaining cocoa in a bowl and mix to combine. Sprinkle over the puddings and pour over the water.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are firm.

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