Monday, 11 January 2010

Diet? What diet......

According to a recent survey most New Year diets fail midway through day ten with 28% of people citing the need for stodgy food on dark January nights as a key reason. So if you've just dropped off the diet wagon today (or like me were never on board) do I have a recipe for you, tried and tested at the weekend.

Jamie Oliver's Bread Pudding and Chocolate-Beer Sauce

For the pudding (Serves 8-10)
5 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
5 tbsp cocoa powder
5 tbsp golden caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
300ml single cream
700ml semi-skimmed milk
1 x 800g loaf of white bread, ends removed, cut into 1cm-thick slices
100g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
1 small handful of pecan nuts, roughly chopped
1 punnet of strawberries, to serve (optional)
Vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)

For the sauce
100ml dark beer (I used Bath Ale's Barnstormer for a good compliment of malty chocolate flavours)
100ml double cream
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
100g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
Sea salt

Heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Crack your eggs into a large mixing bowl with the cocoa powder and sugar and whisk until smooth and silky. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until combined. Cut your slices of bread into rough triangles and add them to the mixing bowl. Push them down gently and leave for 30 seconds, or until they’ve soaked up the chocolate custard. It’s best to do this a few slices at a time rather than all at once.

You’ll need an ovenproof dish or tin about 30cm x 25cm x 6cm deep. Layer your soaked bread triangles in the dish, then pour over any remaining custard so it fills the dish. Leaving the chocolate in its wrapper, smash it against the worktop to break it into chunks. Unwrap and poke these chunks between your slices of bread.
Scatter your chopped pecans over the top of the pudding, then sprinkle over some sugar evenly from a height. Pop the pudding into the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s golden and the custard is delicately setting, but still wobbly.

While that’s happening get a medium pan over a medium-high heat and add your beer, cream and sugar. Keep stirring and as soon as it comes to the boil, take it off the heat. Smash up your chocolate as you did before and stir the whole lot into the hot cream mixture with a small pinch of salt. Serve your pudding with your chocolate-beer sauce drizzled over the top. Lovely with a few fresh strawberries and a scoop of vanilla icecream ( we used Green & Black's Vanilla - by this point calories had done out the window!!)

And to drink with it, Beermerchants and Pencil & Spoon both kindly recommended an Imperial Stout. I was lucky enough to lay my hands on a bottle of P2 (sorry Mark) - verdict, amazing!!

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