Tag Archives: chocolate custard

Chocolate ganache that makes a rather splendid base for hot chocolate or chocolate custard

Sorry about the overly long title.

I’ve written before that I have a thing about really good hot chocolate. I prefer a potent pokey hot chocolate rather than a long, watered down poor-man’s version of one. This base is absolutely brilliant, it takes not very long to make, you store it in the fridge, it lasts for a week (unless you use cream that’s right by its sell by date) and you can turn it, in minutes, into superb hot chocolate or add it to shop bought custard (buy good quality one) to make chocolate custard that’s just really IMPRESSIVE.

The proportions below are a rough guide. Stick loosely to them, because I’ve perfected this over years. But of course it doesn’t matter if you have only 90g of one chocolate or 60g of another, or a bit more or less cream. The effects of varying the proportions are, indeed, something you can play around with. This is what works for us.

100g 70% cocoa chocolate

75g 37% cocoa milk chocolate (I use Green and Black’s milk cooking chocolate)

225g of single cream

In a bain marie or a bowl over pan of boiling water, melt the two types of chocolate with the cream. Be careful not to let it get too hot or scorch. Then just put it in a suitable container and put it in the fridge until you need it.

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To make hot chocolate you just measure out some milk into the cup you are using – for a normal size cup of mug you use 3/4 of the cup of milk and a big dessert-spoon dollop of chocolate ganache, all into a pan, warm through until melted/warm. Drink and sigh.

To make chocolate custard get shop bought custard – I use this one from Waitrose which is 500g and I add the whole quantity of the custard ganache the recipe above makes. This makes a good old amount of chocolate custard, but of course you can vary it to make as much as you want, or you may prefer the custard less chocolately. Experiment. It goes super well with my chocolate sponge.

Later note: a dollop of this ganache, mixed up with cold milk, also makes a divine chocolate milk drink.

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Chocolate sponge and chocolate custard

These have to be five of my favourite words.

And yet, when I was in my first year in primary school, two traumatic things happened to me at lunchtime (we all had to have school dinners). First, having come from a safe and loving home, I was one day confronted by a very troubled boy kicking me in the back and nobody doing anything about it. Second, another troubled boy spat in my chocolate sponge and chocolate custard. I didn’t, of course, finish eating it, but amazingly, it didn’t taint my memory of this pudding which I still see as elementally comforting. Despite history proving otherwise, I think nothing bad can happen when you’re eating a chocolate sponge and chocolate custard pudding.

I have made this several times over the years. And each and every time, I forget to take a photograph of it because everyone is in such a scramble to get it. This has nothing to do with me, other than I make it, but I think, everything to do with people’s associations with it.

This time, I only remembered to take a picture of it at the very last minute, when we were on the last slice; which is why it’s a close up, and not a very good photograph at that (still, better than Martha’s). Just out of shot, is my partner’s spoon, hovering in anticipation and annoyance at my interruption, and half the pudding already gone.

A note about the custard: it doesn’t make enough unless you eat giant portions of this at once. If you eat it like we do, in smallish portions, then you need more custard. Second, Waitrose does a perfectly good chocolate custard which you could easily use instead. It’s not as ‘good’ for you (no eggs) but come on..

A note about the pudding. It travels really well. I have made this in advance and taken it on a holiday rental, warmed it up in the microwave (10-20 seconds per portion) and it is glorious. I’ve easily kept this cake for a week and just zapped it in a microwave to make it soft and springy again.  If you like it cold cold (cold pud cold custard) then this could also travel, separately, to a picnic and be reunited to make a quite decadent pudding on the grass.  My children actually like this pudding cold, with cold custard and you can try it either way: hot hot, cold cold, hot cold, cold, hot. Knock yourself out.

This recipe originally came from Delicious magazine.

250g unsalted butter at room temperature (so soft, because room temperature in my house at the moment results in pretty hard butter still)

200g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

250g self raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

50g dark chocolate grated or chopped up very, very, very small (grating chocolate is one of my most hated kitchen jobs, I’d prefer to de-giblet a chicken)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

125ml warm milk

Oven to 180C. You’ll need a square 20cm cake tin which you have lined with baking parchment. I love this cut into squares but for goodness sake don’t sweat it if you don’t have a square tin and improvise.

Beat the butter and sugars together, whisk in an food mixer if you have one. If not doing it by hand is fine. BUT it does need lots of beating so if you have an electric whisk do use that for five minutes.

Gradually add the eggs and now sift over the flour and cocoa with the baking powder and grated chocolate. * Add the vanilla extract and the warm milk. It should be fairly gloopy. Put in the tin and cook for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out growling. I’m joking, a skewer comes out clean-ish. You know the score.

If you want to make the custard you need:

300ml whole milk (although I have used semi-skimmed and the world did not fall in)

300ml double cream

4 egg yolks

3 tablespoons of caster sugar

3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of cornflour

Heat the milk and cream together until almost boiling. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, cocoa and cornflour. Pour the hot milky cream over the eggy mixture, whisk and return to the pan. Cook gently until it thickens. Serve hot, warm or cool.

2016 note: I now just add chopped up chocolate to the warm milk and melt it that way if I’m in a rush. Nothing awful seems to happen. I’ve also improvised chocolate custard – the recipe above is lovely but it’s a faff and never quite makes enough – and used good quality shop bought custard and added melted chocolate and a tablespoon of cocoa to it.