Here’s a conundrum: what do you make for dessert when your Flu Bug of Pure and Baseless Evil hasn’t let you eat a square meal in five days? Something extra tempting, I thought. Get the old stomach juices going again. This is the only way I can account for the somewhat misguided decision to make my mother-in-law’s incredible microwave chocolate fudge pudding this afternoon. Not only did I mix, weigh, chop and beat on the sofa from beneath a (white) duvet, a dangerous method if ever I tried one, but every time I’ve attempted this pudding at home, I’ve over-cooked it to a gravelly crisp. The Sahara lives and blooms on your tongue with every mouthful. Skimmed milk must be simultaneously ingested to make the thing swallowable. An excess of Beechams powders makes one a little delirious, I’ve discovered: this surely was not the moment to make a pudding that might not work.

I was optimistic, though. When I’ve had this at my mother-in-law’s house, including all of the times I’ve made it myself, it has been a thing of moist, chocolatey glory. Applause rings out as you bring it to the table. And with only six minutes in the microwave, it requires almost no forethought if you want to make it for guests. It’s worth the conquering.

 In short, I made it. And in summary, it didn’t work again. It’s an easy enough recipe to follow: you make a syrupy chocolate sauce on the hob, pour half into the bottom of a medium-sized glass bowl (ours is 17 cm across) then spoon the cake mixture, chock-full of white and dark chocolate lumps, on top. Strap a covering of baking paper over the bowl with elastic bands – a couple, or it’ll pop off – then microwave.

Taking NO chances with the baking paper this time.

When it’s done, upturn it over a plate and let it steam and dribble like a chocolatey volcano. The rest of the chocolate sauce is for pouring at the table.

Solid as a rock.

That’s the theory, anyway. And one of these days I’ll perfect the practice, too. I suspect I need to reduce the cooking time, or else increase the liquidity of the mixture. If anyone would like the recipe for this, to see if it works, let me know. For now, the Other Half will have to consume the crispy little thing we made, with plenty of milk on standby. And I, dear reader, will be paying a visit to my friendly neighbourhood painkillers box and then going back to bed.

Deliciousness: It has, in the past, been fabulously yummy. But not for a long, long while.

Complexity: Quite easy, if you’re not trying to direct operations from the sofa.

Washing-up pile: A moderate nine, but all covered in thick, sticky chocolate. At least one change of water required.

Casualties: Anyone unfortunate enough to be hit on the head by my Pudding of Stone.

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