Melting Chocolate Puddings
This, I suspect, could be the chocolate recipe for the beginning of the 21st century – very light, very chocolatey individual baked puddings that have a melted fudge-chocolate sauce inside that oozes out as you put your spoon in.
My thanks to Galton Blackiston and everyone at Morston Hall Hotel in Norfolk for giving me their recipe.
This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Serves 8
First of all place the broken-up chocolate, along with the butter and brandy, in a large heatproof bowl, which should be sitting over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Then, keeping the heat at its lowest, allow the chocolate and butter to melt slowly; it should take 6-7 minutes. Then remove it from the heat and give it a good stir until it's smooth and glossy. While the chocolate is melting, place the sugar, whole eggs, yolks and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl, place it on a tea towel to steady it, then whisk on a high speed with an electric hand whisk until the mixture has doubled in volume – this will take between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on the power of your whisk.
What you need to end up with is a thick, mousse-like mixture that, when you stop the motor and lift the whisk, leaves a trail like a piece of ribbon. Now you need to pour the melted chocolate mixture around the edge of the bowl (it's easier to fold it in from the edges) and then sift the flour over the mixture. Using a large metal spoon, carefully but thoroughly fold everything together. Patience is needed here; don't be tempted to hurry it, as careful folding and cutting movements are needed, and this will take 3-4 minutes.
Now divide the mixture between the pudding basins (it should come to just below the top of each one) and line them up on a baking tray. If you like, the puddings can now be covered with clingfilm and kept in the fridge or freezer until you need them.
When you're ready to bake the puddings, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
Remove the clingfilm and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 14 minutes if they have been chilled first, but only 12 if not; after that time the puddings should have risen and feel fairly firm to the touch, although the insides will still be melting.
Leave to stand for 1 minute before sliding a palette knife around each pudding and turning out on to individual serving plates. If you're cooking these puddings from frozen, give them about 15 minutes' cooking time and allow them to stand for 2 minutes before turning out.
Serve absolutely immediately, with some chilled cream to pour over.
As the puddings cool, the melted chocolate inside continues to set, so they can, if you like, be served cold instead as a fudgey-centred chocolate cake with whipped cream.
You will also need 8 mini pudding basins, each with a capacity of 6 fl oz (175 ml), generously brushed with melted butter.