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Squidgy Chocolate Cakes with Prunes in Marsala

When I had dinner with a friend from New York recently, he asked me how the low-fat recipes were coming along and gave me a challenge: 'If you can come up with a low-fat, low-sugar chocolate dessert that tastes really good, you'll have broken new ground.' So, here follows what I hope will be a ground-breaking recipe! If you want to make these in advance, you can cover them loosely with clingfilm and store in the fridge until needed.

 
 
 Squidgy Chocolate Cakes with Prunes in Marsala

  Serves 4

Ingredients
 ½ oz (10 g) cocoa powder, plus a little extra for dusting
 3 large eggs
 1 level tablespoon granulated sweetener
 a little groundnut or other flavourless oil for greasing
For the filling:
 12 ready-to-eat vanilla prunes
 1½ fl oz (40 ml) Marsala
 2 rounded tablespoons 8 per cent fat fromage frais
 1 teaspoon granulated sweetener
 1 teaspoon chocolate extract
Oven temperatures and Conversions
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Equipment
You will also need four 1½ inch (4 cm) deep ramekins with a base measurement of 3 inches (7.5 cm), very lightly greased, and a small baking tray.

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Three and The Delia Collection: Chocolate.

Method

First of all, deal with the prunes by placing them in a small saucepan, together with the Marsala, then just bring them up to simmering point and leave to cool. Transfer them to a small, lidded plastic box and leave to soak for as long as possible, turning them now and then. (I always try to let them soak overnight.)

When you're ready to make the cakes, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C). Then separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium-sized bowl and the whites in a large, grease-free one. Next, whisk the yolks and the sweetener together quite briskly for about a minute, then sift the cocoa powder on to the yolks, whisking briefly until it's well blended in.

Now, using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage. (They need to be standing up in peaks that just nod over when you lift the whisk.) After that, fold a tablespoon of the egg white into the chocolate mixture, then quickly but carefully fold in the rest.

Divide the mixture between the ramekins – it will pile up quite high – then place them on the baking tray and bake them for 12-15 minutes, or until they feel springy but still a bit wobbly to the touch. Remove them from the oven, and don't be alarmed to see them shrink because that's quite normal. When they're cool enough to handle, slide a small palette knife around the edges and turn out first on to the palm of your hand, then right-side up on to a cooling rack.

While they're cooling, make the filling. Drain the prunes, reserving the liquid. Next, measure the fromage frais into a bowl, together with the sweetener and chocolate extract, then add the prune-soaking liquid and whisk everything together. Now transfer the prunes to a board, reserving four of them for the tops of the cakes, and roughly chop the rest, before folding them into the fromage-frais mixture.

Finally, slice the chocolate cakes in half horizontally, fill with the prune mixture and sandwich the two halves together again. Pop a whole prune on top of each one and dust lightly with cocoa powder before serving.

Nutritional information
Per serving: 155 kcal, Fat 6.2 g, Saturates 1.9 g, Protein 9.5 g, Carbohydrate 14 g.

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