The holiday season is almost upon us and the dark nights have taken over. The Irish have a fail-safe solution for winter weather however – we call it chocolate.
We sent blogger Jane Casey to a chocolate factory with these instructions: do not come back without the perfect chocolate dessert recipe and a metric ton of samples. This is how she got on:
I took one for the team, made the sacrifice, cleared my schedule and went to spend the day at a chocolate factory. I know, I know, this job is hard sometimes. I was headed for the cocoa mecca: Butlers Chocolate Factory in Dublin.
The company was started by Marion Bailey Butler, and has been making luxury chocolates for 80 years now. She picked the right island – the Irish are the third biggest consumers of chocolate in the world, beaten only narrowly by Austria and Switzerland. It’s a wonder Guinness doesn’t do a chocolate flavour.
Butlers now produces 1 – 2 million chocolates a week and ships them to over 40 countries worldwide. Which brings us to my golden ticket moment, as I step inside their ‘chocolate experience’ for a tour by my own Willy Wonka; guide Mags.
First up is a riveting lesson on how the Mayans discovered the cocoa bean and it led to the modern chocolate industry today. Next is the factory floor, where the chocolates were created right before my hungry eyes.
As melted chocolate oozed into moulds, Easter eggs spun on a machine to achieve the perfect chocolate consistency. Around every corner, someone was waiting with a tray of complimentary fudge or praline. My eyes were almost popping out of my head.
But I could not be derailed! I was here on one mission and one mission alone; to find the best chocolate dessert recipe in the land.
It was so hard not to be lead astray, especially when they put a 200g chocolate bear in front of me with paintbrushes and melted chocolate and told me to decorate it. Oh these Butlers folk were clever – they knew exactly how to keep me from their secret recipe!
I painted my bear (MoBear in aid of Movember) and together we continued on my mission. Around the last corner, I spotted a flash in the corner of my eye. It was small, quick, orange… an Oompa Loompa! What else could it be! Besides hallucinations from the sugar high…
Either way, it had left a little piece of paper on the ground.
And guess what was written on it…
Chocolate Pudding Recipe from Butlers
Takes 30 minutes
For the puddings
170g (6oz) Butlers 70% Dark Chocolate
110g (4oz) unsalted butter cut in pieces (and a little extra for greasing)
150g (5.25oz) brown sugar
40g (1.5oz) cocoa powder
3 large eggs
For the ganache
80g (3oz) Butlers 70% Dark Chocolate
80ml (2.75fl oz.) double cream
To make the pudding:
- Set the oven to 190°C/375°F (conventional oven) or 170°C/350°F (fan oven) or Gas Mark 5 and put a pot of water on to boil.
- Grease the insides of the pudding tins with butter.
- About five minutes before the oven is due to come to temperature, place the chocolate and the butter, cut into pieces, in the glass bowl over the boiling water to create a bain-marie. Stir occasionally.
- Weigh out the sugar and sieved cocoa powder.
- Add a pinch of salt.
- Break the eggs into the small bowl and beat together a fork.
- Place a towel where you will be mixing the pudding.
- Once the chocolate and butter has completely melted with no lumps, transfer the bowl and place on the towel.
- Add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt and fold to mix completely.
- Add the eggs and then whisk with the electric whisk, to add air and dissolve the grains of sugar.
- Spoon the mixture into the pudding tins, dividing it equally between them. This should come almost to the top.
- Place the tins on a baking tray and place in the centre of the oven.
- Bake for 12 minutes (wetter, richer result) to 16 minutes (for a more cake-like result) and remove from the oven and allow the puddings to cool in the tins for 5 minutes.
- The puddings will have risen slightly above the top of the tins, but will shrink as it cools.
- Turn the puddings out, flat side down, onto their serving plates.
To make the ganache
- Break the chocolate pieces into smaller pieces and place in a ceramic or glass bowl.
- Heat the cream gently in a saucepan, stirring constantly, without allowing it to boil.
- Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate.
- Stir gently until all of the chocolate has melted into the cream.
- Note: Ganache is equal parts cream and chocolate and warm cream should always be added to the chocolate, not the reverse.
- Spoon the warm ganache over the top of the puddings, allowing it to drip down the sides.
Note: the dessert can be served cool, but it is best to pour the ganache over the pudding as near to serving as possible.