When I was a nipper, school dinners received their fair share of criticism – often well deserved. But even the most ardent school dinner hater invariably did a little dance inside when this was served up. Whether you called it chocolate rock, chocolate concrete or simply referred to it as chocolate pudding, if you ate lunch at any UK school during the 1980s or 1990s I pretty much guarantee you’ll be acquainted with this stuff.
Usually served with pink or mint custard, it was the pudding that could remove a wobbly tooth with a single bite. Eating it with a spoon would result in you and anyone else in touching distance being covered with flying bits of custard-covered chocolate. Due to its sugar content, I’m guessing it’s now banned from the school cafeteria.
I spent months scouring the internet and cookery books to try and find a recipe, and never managed to find one that came close to my childhood memories, or that did not feature egg. Then, a friend of my mum passed this recipe on to me and our family has since been hooked.
215g plain flour
215g granulated sugar
110g butter, cubed (room temperature, or soften with a quick blast in the microwave)
55g cocoa powder
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees for fan assisted)/gas mark 4.
2. Grease a 6 inch baking tray (round works well, or heart shaped if you’re feeling that way inclined).
3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar until evenly mixed.
4. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
5. Add the mixture to the greased baking tray and pat down with the back of a spoon. Bear in mind the harder you pat it down the more it will resemble concrete, so don’t go overboard – it just needs to be compressed enough to stick together.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Remove from oven, sprinkle with sugar, and leave to harden (at least five minutes should do the trick).
8. Serve with cream, ice cream, or for a truly authentic trip down memory lane, drown it in pink custard. Enjoy!