Home > Food, Wine > Sticky Chocolate Pudding & 2009 Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest

Sticky Chocolate Pudding & 2009 Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest

Preparation Time: 30 minutes Baking Time: 40 minutes Yield: 4-6

A yummy 'personal' chocolate pud with a sprinkling of castor sugar

Those of you who follow this column with any regularity will know that I am inclined to steer clear of baking, not because I don’t like to bake, but because I find it intimidating. It is a most precise undertaking, where small deviations in quantity or method can have catastrophic results.

Accordingly, I am inclined to find a recipe that works well and stick to it, rather than to “tweak” as I am so fond of doing in other branches of the culinary arts.

Dear Wife Eppie’s Gran, Mary Robertson, hailed from Orkney (oft incorrectly referred to as “The Orkneys”) just north of the Scottish mainland. Interestingly, when Orcadians speak of “The Mainland”, they refer to the largest island in the archipelago, “Mainland Island”, whereas the Scottish mainland is referred to as Scotland. But it’s perhaps understandable, considering that Orkney was only annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472, having been a Norwegian possession since 875.

The Orcadians are a hardy bunch, prone to understatement, an economy of speech, and an economy of effort in much that they do. Gran Robertson was the princess of baking in Eppie’s family, and her love of baking rubbed off on Eppie. If one follows the logic chain one generation further, it is little wonder that daughter Alex loves baking as much as she does.

Eppie’s recipe book is a labour of love, and it includes a great treasure trove of baking recipes, many of which came from her Gran. In search of a recipe for this week, Eppie suggested Gran Robertson’s chocolate pudding. It is ridiculously easy to make, requiring very little effort, but also a precise sequence of events.

Ingredient Selection and Preparation

(Wet mixture)

185ml white sugar

250ml cake flour

2tsp baking powder

1 pinch of salt

2tbsp cocoa

3tbsp butter

125ml milk

½tsp vanilla essence


125ml dark brown (or yellow) sugar

125ml white sugar

4tbsp cocoa: sift the cocoa to get rid of any lumps.

250ml cold water


Preheat your oven to 180 deg C.

Measure out all the dry mixture ingredients and set them up in the order listed.

Sift the sugar, flour, baking powder and cocoa into a mixing bowl. Melt the butter and add it to the sifted ingredients. Add the milk and vanilla then mix lightly with a metal spoon until the ingredients are just combined.

Divide the wet mixture between four small bowls – I used 250ml ramekins – and then divide each of the topping ingredients evenly between the bowls in the sequence listed above. Do NOT mix them at all.

Place the ramekins on a baking tray, and bake in mid oven for 40 minutes. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of castor sugar. Enjoy!

Wine Match: 2009 Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest

Finishing a meal with a dessert begs for a suitable beverage as an accompaniment. South Africa is graced with a plethora of great sweet wines, which although they tend to be viewed locally by many people as somehow or other inferior (how often have you heard sweet wine referred to as “bakleiwyn”), are in fact widely respected.

In particular, our noble late harvest wines (with thanks to the benign fungus Botrytis cinerea), pioneered by Gunter Brozel way back in the late sixties, are now widely respected and often garner significant accolades on the international wine competition circuit.

One such wine is Fleur du Cap’s Noble Late Harvest (NLH), and in particular the 2009 vintage, a bottle of which I opened to enjoy with this dessert.

And yes, this is the very self same NLH that brewed the great controversy about who actually made it, when it was announced that Andrea Freeborough of Die Bergkelder had won Landbouweekblad’s 2010 Woman Winemaker of the Year with it, when according to the evidence, the wine was actually made by Pieter Badenhorst. But let’s allow that particular sleeping dog to slumber on uninterrupted shall we, and take a look at the wine itself.

The wine is yellow gold in colour. The nose is surprisingly shy, offering delicate shades of dried peaches, pears and apricots, with dusty botrytised notes. When I first smelled it, I must admit to a frisson of disappointment, but when it hit my palate, all was forgiven.

Powerful acidity stands shoulder to shoulder with a rich fruit complex redolent of Seville orange marmalade, and dried peaches and apricots. The mid palate is broad and rich with fruit, and the finish lingers enticingly. This is a classic case of under-promising and over delivering.

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