This is a recipe from Darina Allen’s Easy Entertaining cookbook, a cook I admire and trust and whose books will always be in my cookbook library. They are a cinch to make and a delicious, easy alternative to Christmas pudding for dessert as they are light, perfectly sized, take just 6 minutes in the oven and can be prepared in advance. What’s not to love about that! I find traditional Christmas pudding just too heavy after the big meal. I still buy a small one every year as my Dad sometimes likes a slice with a cup of tea during the days after Christmas. (I have never made a Christmas pudding and don’t think I ever will!) There are so many other nice dessert options to choose from that are lighter and tastier like these chocolate puddings. Our dessert for the big day this year is going to be Strawberry Meringue Ice Cream Cake (another recipe from that famous Allen family) from a previous post but I have a batch of these little chocolate beauties in the freezer for dessert on St Stephen’s Day. I love the fact that they look just like a baby Christmas pudding and the fact that you nearly always have the very short list of ingredients in the house. They are light, fluffy, deliciously chcolatey and always go down a treat. (Note: They are different to the molten chocolate puddings where the gooey chocolate runs out of the centre so please don’t be disappointed when this doesn’t happen) You can have lots of fun ‘dressing’ them with strawberries, raspberries, mixed fruit, some strawberry coulis, ice cream or even sparklers!
Equipment: 6 moulds – I used aluminium foil moulds with a 150 ml capacity, measuring 8.5cm (3¼ in) across at the top, 5.5cm (2¼in) deep. They can be bought in good baking supply shops or ordered on-line. I make 6 puddings from the quantities of ingredients below, filling the moulds just over half-way.
Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 6/7 mins
110g / 4oz butter, plus extra for greasing
2 teaspoons flour, plus a bit extra for dusting the tins
110g / 4oz good-quality dark chocolate – 70% cocoa solids
2 free-range organic eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
50g / 2oz caster sugar
If the puddings are to be baked immediately, preheat the oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas 8, and place a baking tray in the oven to heat.
- Generously butter and flour the moulds, then tap the moulds on the worktop to shake off the excess flour.
- Base line the moulds with baking parchment. I cannot stress how important this step is to ensuring your little chocolate ‘pud’ turns out perfectly so take your time to butter and flour every part of the mould.
- Put the chocolate with the measured butter in a heat-resistant glass bowl and place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
- Bring to the boil, turn off the heat and allow it to sit until the chocolate is melted.
- Meanwhile whisk the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale and doubled in volume.
- Add the melted chocolate and butter while still warm and mix gently but thoroughly.
- Sift the measured flour over the mixture and work in with a spatula until it is just combined.
- Spoon the mousse into the well buttered moulds until each is just over half-full.
- If baking immediately, set the moulds on the heated baking tray and bake for 6-7 minutes. (Absolutely no longer or they will be dry)
- Alternatively, the puddings can be covered lightly with clingfilm, kept at room temperature and baked later. They can be refrigerated but they must be brought to room temperature before baking.
- When they come out of the oven, invert each pudding onto a warmed dessert plate, wait for 10 seconds, then lift off the moulds*. Dust with icing sugar and serve with raspberries, strawberries, whipped cream, ice cream or crème fraiche.
*If it doesn’t come out cleanly don’t panic, just patch it up, icing sugar and fruit cover a multitude and I guarantee you no-one will complain!