Cooking the Black Pudding Chocolate Spread recipe from Heston’s Fantastical Food
We loved it. A brilliant mixture of lab-based shenanigans, oversized food antics and a few interesting recipes along the way. Also, it was nice that the meals were intended for the general public – unlike Feasts, with is über-exclusive celebrity dinner parties.
As I’m sure you’ve seen from our British Airways Shepherd’s Pie and Worm Pizza recipe experiments, our favourite bits of these shows are always the ones we can replicate at home. The topsy-turvy Full English Breakfast recipe, with its cherry tomato Meat Fruit and gnocchi baked beans, was classic, playful Heston. And, of course, the black pudding “Nutella”.
The generous folk at Channel 4 have made the replicating easier for all of us, Heston’s Black Pudding Chocolate Spread recipe can be found on their website. We’re pretty much duty-bound to have a crack at it.
Special Equipment: Hand blender
Special Ingredients: Invert Sugar (alternative: Golden Syrup)
Time: About 30 minutes
Cost: Under £5
NOTE: The official recipe looks like it’ll produce around a kilogram of finished spread. A small jar of regular Nutella lasts us well over a year. We halved the ingredients list to make a portion we might actually manage to finish.
STEP 1: Gastrique
What in the heck is a gastrique?!!? I love it when Heston’s recipes throw out some obscure, left-field French cooking term. Sometimes I wonder if it’s real or if he’s just testing us.
Real or not, it’s pretty simple to make. Add red wine vinegar to flavoured caramel and reduce to a syrup. We over-reduced, but a dash of kettle water remedied this. We also added a dusting of powdered allspice, we haven’t found allspice berries on sale anywhere.
STEP 2: Black Pudding Cream
Did you manage to get your hands on some invert sugar? We’d hoped a Wikipedia search might’ve offered a supermarket-friendly alternative name, maybe in the Dr Oetker range. It didn’t, but our research did reveal that Golden Syrup is more than half invert sugar. That’s close enough for us (and golden syrup is a classic Heston ingredient).
Heston makes a point of pouring quite a lot of hazelnut oil into the mix on the TV show, but there’s not a drop specified in the recipe. Having spent the better part of £3 on a bottle (to eventually make the How to Cook Like Heston Tiramisu recipe) I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to get some use out of it. To preserve the final texture we substituted 5ml of cream for 5ml of hazelnut oil.
Blitzing cream and black pudding is a lot of fun. We only have one “fine” sieve, so we ran the puree through that twice. I’d worried the amount of liquid would make this a runny slop, but’s already fairly firm, though unsettlingly faecal-looking, at this stage.
After this the gastrique (ha!) gets mixed through. Thence into a jar and into the fridge, ready for the morning.
Our expectations were that this would be a poor man’s Meat Fruit. In reality it’s quite different, but very delicious.
The black pudding flavour is perfectly balanced by smooth creaminess and that red wine vinegar that Cuts Through The Richness™. We might’ve used a little too much, maybe that’s why the directions say to “season” using the gastrique, rather than bunging the whole lot in. Unsurprisingly the caramel and golden syrup give a sweetness that makes this very moreish. I wish we’d made the full kilo now.
It was ever-so-slightly heavy going, maybe the UHT cream specified by the recipe is single, not the double cream we used? We’d add more hazelnut oil next time too, as we couldn’t really taste that element in our version.
Ours was also a little too grainy, we really ought to invest in a very fine mesh sieve. (Especially since it’s advice from Auldo, the expert on these things).
With all that fat, cream and sugar (and spread onto white bagels, as we did) it’s hardly the healthiest breakfast in the world. But then again neither is a bowl of Coco Pops. Nor is actual Nutella for that matter.
This is definitely worth making, and hopefully a sign of more great dishes to feature in the coming episodes of Heston’s new series.