qatsi's Promenade Indulgence (featuring rosamicula's patented Chocolate Puffins)
Ingredients: wine, pears, damsons, butter, soft brown sugar, small eggs, vanilla essence, cocoa, more wine, cinnamon sticks, chocolate liqueur, baking powder, nutmeg, are you sure you've got enough wine?
Day One: Preheat your oven to a medium heat. Sit quietly in front of an old episode of Poirot and whilst admiring the costumes, peel several small sweet pears, taking care not to dislodge their stalks. It does not matter if you get engrossed in the plot and first ones you peel become a little brown.
During a commercial break place the pears in an oven proof casserole dish and sprinkle them with demerara sugar or Splenda sugar substitute (DO NOT substitute any other sugar substitute as all the others are made of genetically modified petrochemicals and have an aftertaste like the sweat from under a syphilitic crone's vinegar tits). Throw in a couple of cinnamon sticks and a pinch of nutmeg. Then open a bottle of merlot, pour some into a large wine glass and let the rest glug gently over your pears. Cover and stick in the warmed oven. Take glass and sip slowly during remainder of Poirot.
A couple of breaks later go and check on your pears and turn them over so all sides get a chance to become fully flushed and inebriated. You might need to do this a couple of times. The pears should be tender after about 45 mins to an hour, depending on their initial firmness. Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool in the wine overnight.
Day Two: In the morning your pears will be a deep, lush, drunken pink. Eat one or two for breakfast with greek yoghurt (you only need six to turn into chocolate puffins). Then gently remove the rest from the wine using a slotted spoon and reserve then in a container of some sort.
Place the wine and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan. Take a couple of pounds of damsons, wash them and gently remove any stalks and leaves. Count them - yes, count them - by letting their little olive-shaped purple bodies slip slowly through your fingers and plop into the saucepan of wine. Add more sugar/Splenda and about another third of a bottle of merlot. Drink some more of it whilst the damsons gently simmer. Their dark skins will split and reveal the light greeny flesh beneath, but soon the flesh will assume the colour of the wine.
When all the flesh is soft and pulpy take the pan off the heat and strain the fruit using a sieve. Return the wine to the heat and let it reduce to about half its original volume before you take it off the heat. Then go and rest and drink some more wine. Your entire flat will smell fruity and boozy and autumnal and this effect should be savoured.
If the damson mush is cool enough gently pick the stones out of it. You will know when you have picked out all the stones because you counted them earlier, you clever thing (I learnt this the hard way). Tip the stone-free mush into a blender, add the wine and blend on the most vigorous setting (this is when your blender screams in protest if you've left a stone in). You will now have a thick, velvety, winey damson sauce. It is a proper sauce; it would take a namby-pamby French coulis outside, insult its mother and give a damn good slap. Add more sugar/splenda to taste, but not too much as the damsons should retains some of their formidable tartness to contrast with the puffins. Put the sauce in the fridge till it is needed.
If your pears have been in the fridge take them out to let them warm up a bit. Drain the last of the liquid off the pears by standing them on a pile of sheets of kitchen towel. While they are draining cream together three ounces of butter and three ounces of soft brown sugar (no substitutes) in a large bowl. Then beat two small eggs and a teaspoon of good quality vanilla essence (NOT vanilla flavouring, proper vanilla essence; flavouring is to essence what Sunny Delight is to freshly squeezed orange juice) with a generous slug of chocolate liqueur.
Preheat oven to the high end of medium. Weigh out three ounces of self-raising flour, half a teaspoon of baking powder and an ounce of cocoa (not drinking chocolate - cf earlier comment re Sunny Delight). Gently beat the eggy mixture into the creamed butter and sugar. If it starts to curdle sift a little of the cocoa and flour mixture in. When you have added all the egg sift in the flour mixture and gently blend.
Take a rubber six muffin 'tin' ( I don't know if this would work as well with a metal tin). Put a couple of spoons of cake mixture in the bottom of each well and then gently place a drained pear in each. Spoon and finger the rest of the cake mixture around the pears as quickly as you can. The mixture should be thick enough to mould around the top of the pears which will stand up out of the tin somewhat. This will be pleasingly messy to do and you can lick your chocolatey fingers afterwards. Bake for about half an hour and allow to cool in the tins, where they should remain until required.
Day Three: Take your tray of chocolate puffins (pear muffins, innit?) and admire their beauty, especially the way their little stalks still stick up, bless them. Melt some good quality dark chocolate over simmering water and then drizzle it over the tops of your puffins and stick them in the fridge so the chocolate sets. (If you have chocolate left over, add some Greek yoghurt and stir well, then reserve in a separate container). Then melt some good quality white cooking chocolate and repeat. Don't bother trying to use Green and Blacks as it will just form an unpleasant coagulant mass, like semen does in bath water, and you won't be able to drizzle it. (If you have chocolate left over, add it to the chocolatey Greek yoghurt gloop and stick it in the fridge). Put the puffins in the fridge so that the chocolate sets nicely. If you are consumed with desire to eat them eat the chocolate yoghurt goop instead. It will make you feel a bit sick and you will need to lie down afterwards.
When your honoured guests arrive you should remove the damson sauce and the puffins from the fridge as both will have more flavour if they are not icy cold. Take a small plate and spoon a generous pond of damson sauce onto it - not the kind of feeble smear of coulis you get in most restaurants - think of it as a dark, superior and alcoholic custard. Set the puffin in the middle of the middle of the pond and a blob or two of cold clotted cream or whipped double cream around it. Don't use creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt as you need a richly creamy contrast to the tartness of the damson sauce. Serve immediately. It should look a bit like this (except without a big cookwitch-shaped bite out of the side):
In my limited experience, if you feed this pudding to a women you can get her out of her clothes about 20 minutes later.