It is my Mother, who really was the first person to introduce me to how much fun I could have in the kitchen, who built the foundation for a lot of my recipes. As a working mother - she was a teacher, she still found time to delight us with all manners of curries, pasta, meatloaf, casseroles, stews, cakes and desserts. Meals were never a boring affair at our house and it was Mom that taught us all how to always try new foods.
The Lovely Wife, of course, is the one that has spurred me on to greater heights. She is the one that has made me expand my repertoire. The kids too have played their part in expanding my culinary skills and just like I have fond memories of my mother experimenting with new flavours in the kitchen and exposing us to different cuisines, I too hope that my own children will have similar memories of me.
Jamie Oliver always goes on about his wife Jules - but not many people know that I have my own Jules - my Aunty Julie. Aunty Jules is my father's third sister. He is the only boy in a family of four girls. Aunty Julie was always the sweet, demure Aunt. Full of smiles and cuddles with a little mischief thrown in. She was also the Dessert Queen. Oh my! The desserts Aunty Jules would throw together were nothing short of magnificent. We kids all thouhgt she was nothing short of brilliant with the desserts she would come up with.
One of her all time favourites - and ours - was this Rum Chocolate Biscuit Pudding. When I started to make desserts of my own, I asked her for this recipe and she happily passed it on to me.
I have to admit that I was surprised at how simple this was and I made some further experimentation on it. One of the things I did differently was to increase the amount of chocolate as well as add in some cocoa. I use almonds rather than cashew nuts and I melt the chocolate with all the cream rather than the original recipe that calls for half the cream to be melted with the chocolate. The most important change I have made, I think, is to mix the egg yolks together with the warm chocalate - so that the egg at least cooks a little.
So...after sufficient modification, I have claimed it as my own recipe!
This is what I do.
1/2 Cup Butter (125g)
3/4 Cup Castor Sugar
350ml Unsweetened Cream
2 Eggs (separated)
150gm Dark Chocolate
2 Tablespoons Cocoa
1/2 - 1 cup Chopped Cashews (or Almonds)
1 packet Marie Biscuits
1 cup milk
Brandy or Rum (Optional - I use liberal amounts - 4 to 6 tablespoons!!)
Separate eggs, ensuring that egg whites have no yolk.
Melt chocolate with the cream over a slow fire. Ensure cream does not boil. Beat in egg yolks quickly. Leave to cool. Once cool, whip till slightly thick but not stiff.
Cream butter and 1/2 the sugar. Add in chocolate mixture and sifted cocoa. Add Rum (dependent on your alcoholic tendencies!)
Whisk egg whites till they peak and then add remaining sugar, whisking till nice and thick. Fold in egg whites to chocolate mixture. Stir in 75% of nuts.
Dip Marie Biscuits into milk (to soften slightly) and line a tray with one layer of biscuits. Cover biscuits with layer of mixture. Alternate with layers of biscuits and mixture (with final layer being mixture)
Sprinkle remaining nuts on top (this just makes it look good)
Chill for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
This is a very rich and decadent dessert that will be a definite crowd pleaser. I loved it as a child and I love it even more now - all thanks to my wonderful Aunty Jules!