How I take my whisky

Whisky-hater but dessert-lover, This Girl had promised to try Bill Lark’s suggestion of chocolate whisky pudding.

A bottle of single malt (43 percent) was The Lovely Deputy’s father’s day present. The only thing on the palette at a recent whisky tasting that I could come at, was the whisky liqueur. Saturday morning I stopped by Cool Wines and picked up a bottle of Slainte, Lark’s single malt whisky liqueur. The night’s dessert was decided.

Tip – slainte is gaelic for ‘to your good health’.

I discovered that whisky is perfectly acceptable with chocolate. Here’s what I made.

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Chocolate, pear and walnut self-saucing pudding

Ingredients

Poached pears –

3 medium pears

1 cup sugar

3 cups of water

1t vanilla paste

2T whisky liqueur

Pudding –

100g of 40+% dark chocolate coarsely chopped

50g of unsalted butter chopped

160ml of milk

25g ground fresh walnuts

100g roasted walnuts

220g brown sugar

150g self-raising flour (minus 1T) sifted

1T cocoa sifted

1 egg lightly beaten

Fudge sauce –

400ml water

100g unsalted butter chopped

220g brown sugar

50g cocoa

To serve –

icing sugar, ice-cream and extra whisky liqueur

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Method

  1. To poach the pears, add sugar and water to a 20 cm frying pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil briefly and reduce heat. Add vanilla and liqueur.
    • Peel, core and half pears and place into simmering liquid. Cover with a lid and poach gently for about 10 minutes. The aim is to par-cook the pears, they should have some give but not be completely cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. For the fudge sauce, stir all the ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  3. For the pudding, preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
    • Roast the walnuts for 5-10 minutes. They will start to brown and their skins will begin to flake off. Remove from the oven and rub in a clean dishcloth to remove their skins. Walnuts are soft so crush them with your hands into smaller pieces.
    • Grease a shallow 3-litre dish.
    • Over a low heat in a small saucepan, or in the microwave for one minute bursts, melt and combine the butter, milk and chocolate. Add the whisky and stir until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a cooking bowl and stir in the ground walnuts, walnut pieces and brown sugar. Combine the flour and cocoa, and add to the mixture with the egg.
    • Place the six pear halves, cut side down, in the greased dish. Spoon the pudding mixture over the top.
    • Pour the fudge sauce carefully over the pudding mixture. It might be safest to put the pudding dish on a baking tray to catch any potential overflow.
    • Bake the pudding for approximately an hour until the centre is firm to touch. My oven is extra hot so my preference is to bake this a bit cooler – closer to 160 degrees. Keep an eye on the pudding and lower the temperature a little or place baking paper over the top so it doesn’t burn. Let the pudding sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  4. To serve, sift icing sugar over the pudding. Dish into bowls and dowse each serve with half a tablespoon of liqueur or more if you fancy and add a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Note – if you can’t use fresh walnuts then use hazelnuts. Fresh walnuts are a far, far, superior product than what you buy in a packet at a supermarket.

The whisky is a good accompaniment to a self-saucing pudding by exaggerating its warming character. Its robust flavour is well-suited to an intense chocolate flavour. It’s definitely the way I’m going to take my whisky in the future.

Where the idea came from – An evening with the venerable Bill Lark.

Don’t know Cool Wines? Visit them here.

This recipe was adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly’s Baking The Complete Collection’s chocolate, pear and hazelnut self-saucing pudding.

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