Comforting Chocolate Self-Saucing Puddings

This recipe comes from a very well worn copy of `Women's Weekly Sweet Old Fashioned Favourites'...the only pages that are truly worn are this one, and the lemon pudding. Pudding fan much? :) It's the same recipe I make every Boxing Day for the big family Christmas get together we host...for the three of us who prefer chocolate over traditional Christmas pudding & custard.  

To my own detriment (or possibly genius), the other night I decided to figure out how to split the recipe up to make miniature versions. Added bonus...individual puddings = no leftovers to taunt me from the fridge for the following 2 days. It should be noted that Luke does not agree this is a bonus.  I also love that, aside from the ramekins, this is basically a `one saucepan' dessert...and is super fast to prepare and bake.  When ready to eat, I like to turn it upside down and let it fall out of the ramekin into a bowl so all the chocolate sauce waiting at the bottom drenches the pudding and helps melt the ice cream.

So although this is a timeless classic that everyone has probably made a million times before, I'm sharing it because it's one of our favourites. To me it says winter ...hooded cardigans...chilly Sunday nights...blankets on the couch...with TiVo paused...ready and waiting so we can indulge in dessert & reality TV (aka The Block) at the same time...

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding
Serves 4-6. Measurements shown here are for the full sized version. I split it in half for the two ramekin version.

60g butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
1 tablespoon of cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 tablespoon of cocoa (extra)
2 cups boiling water

1. Combine butter and milk in large saucepan; stir over heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat; stir in essence and caster sugar, then sifted flour and cocoa.

2. Spread mixture into greased ovenproof dish (6 cup capacity). Sift extra cocoa and crumble brown sugar over the mixture, then gentle pour boiling water on top. This bit feels weird if you've never made self-saucing puddings before...but trust me...it's the key to the best pudding sauce :)

3. Bake in moderate oven for about 40 minutes. 

*Note for ramekin version...I sit my ramekins on a tray in case over overflowing...and I fill the boiling water to about 0.5cm from the top to maximise the sauce...and I bake for 20 minutes.

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