Chocolate Concrete and Pink Custard - Simply 80s School Dinner Recipe

By Mark Nobes, chief editor

I'm going to make your stomach rumble and your mouth salivate now, as I show you how to make at a real old school classic pudding from the 1980s - don't worry, it's a very simple recipe and easy to make, and my recipe is one of the simplest you'll find online.
Chocolate concrete (we called it chocolate crunch in my 80s school days but I know that some regions of the UK also named it chocolate cement) with pink custard was dished up for pudding once a week at many schools across the UK. It's definitely one of the happier memories I have of school dinners, unlike the cold and lumpy tapioca which was served up (which we nicknamed frog spawn at primary school), and that put me off the stuff for life!  
So if you're feeling all nostalgic, or maybe you want to show your kids or grandkids what they've been missing, then don't go anywhere, because I have a very delicious recipe which you can follow to make the classic pud.
I've added an excellent video by Geoff Cooper above which you may like to follow instead of my recipe, which is very thorough.
Alternatively, here is my simple method but there are oodles of recipes online. Also, if you're hopeless at making custard (as I am!) or just can't be bothered with all the faffing about, then you can simply buy a packet of strawberry custard from the supermarket! However, in my recipe we're going to use a blancmange mix which is dead easy and much tastier than the instant stuff you add boiling water to!
Chocolate Sponge and Pink Custard - Simply Eighties

This is Geoff Cooper's recipe. That's certainly a generous portion!

Simply 80s Chocolate Concrete Recipe

Just 4 Ingredients And 8 Simple Steps


  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 180g granulated sugar (use brown sugar for a deeper flavour)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder

How to make:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c or 350f, or 160c/320f if you have a fan oven. Grease and line a square tin (8" x 8" is preferable) with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the sugar, flour and cocoa together in a bowl
  3. Melt your butter in a pan.
  4. Pour the melted butter into your mix and mix until like a crumble
  5. Press down the mix with a spatula or the back of your wooden spoon. You can use your hands but make sure you wash them first!
  6. For a the classic crunch, brush the top with a little water and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Alternatively, sprinkle onthe sugar as soon as you take it out of the oven.
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes
  8. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving or you won't get the crunch! It's best eaten the same day but you can store it in an airtight container or freezer bag in the fridge if you want to save some for the next day

Simply 80s Pink Custard Recipe

Just 3 Ingredients And 6 Simple Steps

I've got a very simple method for making the custard which is, quite possibly, the easiest and most hassle-free method you'll find online.


  • 1 pint full cream milk
  • 1 packet of pink blancmange mix (this can be strawberry or raspberry - whichever you prefer)
  • 2 and a halftablespoons of sugar to taste

How to make:

  • Empty your blancmange mix into a bowl (make sure it's heat proof to prevent any disasters!
  • Now add the sugar and a little milk to make a past. I suggest adding a couple of tablespoons and then add more if you need to
  • Tip the rest of the milk into a pan and heat. Don't let it boil or you'll destroy the flavour
  • Pour the paste you mixed into the pan of milk and stir well with a wooden spoon. Make sure you don't take your eye off it andkeep stirring or it will burn on the bottom of the pan
  • Simmer for around 60 seconds. You should now have a pouring consistency but if it looks too thick then simply add a drop more milk
  • Serve with your chocolate concrete cake and enjoy!
So there you have it. My very simple and nostalgic Chocolate Concrete and Pink Custard recipe. I hope that it brings you as much enjoyment as it did back in your childhood.