A chocolate fix

Wowee, I have been neglecting this space of late. Turns out it’s extremely easy to let new goals slip: namely, writing a blog post at least once a week. Well, everything goes out of the window when exciting things happen. Since my last post, we spent a wonderful week in Tallinn, Estonia, which I could go on and on about because it was just so lovely. But let’s leave that for my next post. Today, I would like to share a little chocolate fix with you in the form of one of the easiest and surprisingly simple recipes for a pudding I’ve ever come across.

So let’s turn to one of the most accomplished of our time: Nigel Slater (you may remember I raved about his warming ginger cake a while ago). This is a great recipe to make if you feel like spoiling a loved one, or indeed, yourself. It makes beautiful, rich chocolate puddings, which are just perfect eaten straight from the oven, with double cream. They are equally delicious the next day, when they have solidified a bit, and become more cakey. Nigel’s recipe uses chocolate hazelnut spread to add a nutty depth, but I’m not a huge fan so instead replaced the spread with a shot of Irish cream liquer. Oh my, it was heavenly. Whichever way you lean, treat someone special to this recipe. Pretty much guaranteed brownie points.

The recipe suggests using four ramekin dishes, but I baked my puddings in very well buttered muffin moulds, and they came out fine. The trick is to gently prise them out while the puddings are still slightly warm, or they will stick. Also: this quantity made ten muffin-sized puddings! So prepare to share (or be extremely greedy).

Hot chocolate puddings
from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries

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200g (7oz) dark, fine quality chocolate
100g (3½oz) caster sugar
3 eggs
60g (2oz) butter
2 lightly heaped tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread or
one shot of Irish cream liquer

– Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Lightly butter four small ramekins, oven-proof cups, or a muffin tray.

– Break the chocolate into rough pieces and put it in a bowl suspended over a pan of gently simmering water. Let it melt without stirring, occasionally poking any unmelted chocolate down into the liquid chocolate.

– Put the sugar into a food mixer, separate the eggs and add the yolks to the sugar. Beat until thick and creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until airy and almost stiff.

– Stir the butter into the chocolate and leave to melt, then gently stir in the chocolate spread/liquer. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar, then carefully fold in the beaten egg whites with a metal spoon. Take care not to overmix. Just firmly, calmly mix the egg white into the chocolate, making certain there are no floating drifts of egg white.

– Scoop into the buttered dishes/muffin tray and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes, until risen. The tops should be cracked and the centres still slightly wobbly. Should you open one too early, it can go back in the oven without coming to as much harm as you might think.

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