Microwaved Chocolate and Beetroot Pudding

Introduction: Microwaved Chocolate and Beetroot Pudding

This is a simple, quick recipe for a moist and tasty pudding that uses just a few storecupboard ingredients – apart from one that's not usually found in desserts. What is that ingredient, you ask? Beetroot (aka beets). Thanks to that surprising addition you can persuade yourself that this is a healthy pud. I defy anyone to guess that it’s got any kind of vegetable in it, let alone one as strongly flavoured as beetroot, which makes it an excellent dish for smuggling veggies past fussy kids. The combination with chocolate works so well, and the beetroot gives a really rich colour as well as moistness.

I devised this recipe when I had a couple of vacuum-packed beetroot left in the fridge and I needed to find something to do with them. Remembering a home-baked beetroot and chocolate muffin that someone once gave me - which tasted delicious and not at all of beetroot - I looked for an easy, microwaveable pudding that I could make. All the recipes I found were for oven-baked versions, which seemed a faff when I wanted something that could be knocked up rapidly on those evenings when I still felt a bit peckish after supper and in need of something chocolately. It took a few experiments but I got there in the end.

Whether you make this pudding in a food processor or whip it up by hand, it will take just a couple of minutes once you have everything weighed out, then 5 minutes in the microwave. And it only needs a single bowl for mixing, plus an extra one to cook it in, so minimal washing up. It’s even vegan (but check that the chocolate is vegan, if you use it). Enjoy!

Supplies

Ingredients, to serve 3-4:

  • 2-3 beetroot (about 150g / 5 oz), vacuum packed, ready peeled and boiled
  • 70g / 2½ oz white self-raising flour (or use plain flour, or even strong flour, with added baking powder)
  • 110g / 4 oz granulated sugar
  • 4 level tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp beetroot juice or water
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil (or another neutral-flavoured vegetable oil)
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence (not absolutely necessary)
  • Optional: 3-4 squares of dark chocolate

You'll also need a 1 pint pudding basin or circular microwaveable dish. (The mixture needs room to expand while it’s cooking.)

Step 1: Mixing

  1. If you want to be able to turn the pudding out onto a plate to serve it by slicing into wedges, then start by oiling the pudding basin or dish.
  2. Blitz the beetroot in a food processor until well chopped, or grate it into a bowl.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and blitz or stir until everything is well blended. This should produce quite a stiff mixture that you can just about stand a spoon up in and that will hold its own shape. Add extra flour if it seems too sloppy, or extra juice/water if it’s too stiff.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the basin. If using chocolate, place the chocolate squares together in the centre when it’s half full, then spoon in the other half of the mixture over the top. Use the back of the spoon to make the surface approximately level.

Step 2: Cooking

Microwave on full power for 2 minutes at a time to start with, then just 1 minute or 30 seconds towards the end of the process. After each cooking period have a look at the pudding and, if necessary, lightly press the surface with a finger. It will cook from the outside in, so stop the process when it feels firm and non-sticky almost to the centre of the bowl, but don’t let the outside edge get dried out and hard. It’s better to stop cooking too soon, leaving the centre slightly gooey, than overcook the edge. With a 850W microwave it should take about 5 minutes of total cooking time.

Step 3: Serving

Turn the pudding onto a plate or just spoon it out of the dish. Serve it with Greek yoghurt or crème fraiche.

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