Hot chocolate pudding
This quick (and utterly delicious!) chocolate pud, which I’ve been making for years to delight my family, occupies a space somewhere between a brownie, a soufflé and a cake. I think you’ll agree that’s not a bad place to be. It can be whipped up easily (and on demand!) from store-cupboard ingredients. Briefly baked until set on the outside but still gooey in the middle, it is excellent served with some fruit to cut the richness. It’s gluten-free too.
Put the chocolate and butter into a saucepan and melt gently over a very low heat, watching all the time and stirring often so that the chocolate doesn’t get too hot. Set aside to cool a little. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas 5 and butter a small oven dish. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract together until pale, thick and mousse-like. Using a stand mixer or hand-held electric whisk on full speed, this should only take a few minutes, but whisking by hand with a rotary or balloon whisk will take a lot longer! The mix should be significantly paler, thicker and increased in volume. Turn the mixer down to a low speed and, with the motor running, slowly pour in the tepid melted chocolate and butter mixture (or whisk it gently by hand). Use a rubber spatula to scrape the last drops of chocolate into the mix, and then to fold the mixture fully together.
Combine the ground almonds and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture and fold in carefully, using the spatula. Turn the mixture into the prepared oven dish and shake the dish a little to spread it out. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes until the pudding is set on top and firm at the edges, but still wobbly and gooey in the middle.
Serve straight away, with fresh raspberries or plum compote, and a spoonful of yoghurt or a trickle of cream if you like.
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
100g butter, cut into pieces, plus extra to grease the dish
3 medium eggs
50g soft light brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract
75g ground almonds
A pinch of salt
Raspberries or other berries, or plum compote (see page 21)
Yoghurt or cream (optional)