Chestnut and chocolate pudding

Serves 8

A bit of chocolate at the end of a meal always goes down well, and I've thrown in a few chestnuts here to add a little Christmas spirit.

You can serve this festive pudding with thick cream, custard or crème fraîche or you could spike your custard with a little rum or cognac.

200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten, (make sure they are at room temperature)
200g self-raising flour, sieved
150g dark chocolate, chopped
32 (about 150g) canned chestnuts
8tbsp clear honey
Butter for greasing
Custard, cream, or crème fraîche to serve

Cream the butter and sugar, by hand or in a mixing machine, until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs until well mixed. Gently fold in the flour until well mixed, then fold in the chocolate. Drain the chestnuts and cut them in half.

Grease two large pudding basins, or 8 small individual ones, put the chestnuts in the bottom of the dish/dishes and spoon in the honey, then add the pudding mixture.

Cover with a circle of buttered greaseproof paper, then kitchen foil and secure tightly with a piece of string around the edge of the bowl.

Put the bowl/bowls into a saucepan with boiling water halfway up the bowl, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 1-1 hours for a large one or 40 minutes for small individual ones, topping up with water if necessary.

Remove from the pan and turn out on to a serving dish. You may need to run a knife around the edge of the pudding basin to loosen it.

Serve with thick custard or crème fraîche if you wish, heated up with a little water and spooned on top.

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