The Cake Mixture
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for lining the mould
100g of 70% chocolate
5 large eggs
200g Merchant Gourmet Chestnut Puree
200g ready to eat prunes, finely chopped, 100g cut in half
100g caster sugar
80g cocoa powder, plus extra for lining the mould
The Oranges & Sauce
250g caster sugar
100ml Brandy or Grand Marnier (optional)
1.Preheat your oven to 200c / Gas 6, rack position middle shelf.
2.Brush a large pudding mould with olive oil (I used one with a 15 cm top and a 9cm base and the mixture filled it almost to the top) Put a circle of greaseproof paper in the base; don’t skip the paper, it makes the pudding so much easier to get out. Sprinkle the oiled mould liberally with cocoa powder and turn the mould so that the outsides are well coated, make sure you do this or the pudding will stick to the mould.
3.Next, start the chocolate mixture. Melt the chocolate with the 4 tbsp of olive oil over a pan of hot but not boiling water.
4.While the chocolate melts, separate the eggs. Put the whites into the bowl of an electric mixer and put the yolks into a separate medium sized bowl. Whisk the chestnut puree into the egg yolks until the mixture is very smooth. Stir in the chopped prunes. Set aside.
5.Whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks and then, whisking continuously, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue whisking until the egg whites are very firm and glossy. Sift in the cocoa powder. Fold together gently using a spatula. Add the egg yolk, chestnut puree and chopped prunes mixture. Fold just enough to mix everything together.
6.Take a third of this mixture and stir it vigorously into the lukewarm chocolate (the chocolate needs to be just warm, too cold and it will set on contact with the other ingredients, too hot and it will make the egg whites collapse, but slightly hot is better than slightly too cold). Once this is well combined, quickly fold in the remaining egg whites.
7.Scrape the finished mixture into your lined pudding bowl. Get a pan, bowl or baking tray that will fit the mould in it comfortably. Fill the pan with water and bring it to the boil on your hob. Put the pudding into it. Cover the whole thing with tin foil brushed with olive oil so it doesn’t stick to the pudding and seal it around the edges. Steam for 50 minutes. At this stage, if you check, the cake will be cooked around the outside but still slightly runny in the centre. Turn off the oven. Leave the door slightly ajar and let the cake sit for 15 minutes. Take the cake out of the steamer and let it cool just enough so that you can handle it comfortably.
8.While the pudding steams, prepare the oranges. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the orange zest in long thin strips.
9. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Boil the orange zest for 1 minute. Strain through a sieve. Put the orange zest into a small pan with the 100ml water and the 250g sugar. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer over a very low heat for about 10 minutes until the orange zest is almost transparent. Pour in the Grand Marnier or brandy (if using) and add the 100g of halved prunes.
10.Once the pudding is cool enough to handle put a plate over the top of it and then turn it over to turn the pudding out. Remove and discard the greaseproof paper. Serve with the prunes and the zest around the outside. I like to glaze the cake with the syrup too.
Recipe created by Merchant Gourmet cook, Alex MacKay