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It’s either the saviour or the downfall of Masterchef contestants everywhere. If perfected then in the words of Gregg Wallace “Ah, mate, I tell you what, that’s the sort of thing I would dip my head in”. If it doesn’t work then there’s no bigger disappointment and a contestant’s dream will be fading fast. But! I’m here to tell you that it need not be the downfall of the home cook. Sure, it takes a bit of time, and you need to stick to the recipe instructions meticulously, but this is my go-to impressive pudding for a dinner party and it has worked every time. I really hope you give this recipe a go, and please let me know if you do – it’s such a satisfying dessert to make. Good luck!
Ingredients (serves 4)
25g butter, melted
4 tsp cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate
Large shot of chocolate liquor (or any liquor of your choice)
2 medium eggs, plus two extra yolks
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
Double cream or ice-cream to serve
1. Brush the inside of four small pudding tins or ramekins with the melted butter.
Use upward strokes with a pastry brush to line the sides – this helps the puddings to rise nicely.
Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, or in the fridge for 30 minutes, and brush on a second layer of butter when the first has hardened. Chill again.
2. Put a teaspoon of cocoa powder into each tin, shake and tip out in order to completely coat the inside – this stops the puddings from sticking to the tins and will guarantee your little cakes will tip out easily after cooking.
3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie and set aside to cool to room temperature.
4. Add a shot of your chosen liquor to the chocolate mixture and stir well.
Chocolate liquor will result in a deeper, richer chocolate flavour, but coffee or mint liquor, Cointreau or brandy would all work as well.
5. Use an electric whisk to beat the eggs and sugar together.
You need to achieve a really thick, bubbly texture so keep whisking until the mixture turns considerably lighter in colour and the batter leaves a trail from the whisks.
You can of course use a hand whisk, but be warned, you will need guns of steel.
6. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add the chocolate a bit at a time, beating well to ensure that it incorporates evenly into the batter.
8. Now you’re ready to fill the pudding tins or ramekins. I find that the easiest and most mess-free way to do this is to transfer the batter into a jug and then pour the mixture into the tins from there.
Fill the tins evenly and then chill in the fridge until ready to cook – wait at least 30 minutes, but you can leave them overnight if you’re preparing ahead.
9. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Place the puddings on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes. I have always found that this timing works perfectly, so I trust it every time and don’t let myself be tempted to take them out sooner or leave them in longer.
The puddings should rise out the tins slightly and be well cooked round the outside, but soft in the centre.
10. Gently tip the fondants out onto small plates or bowls (this should be easy due to the double layer of butter and the cocoa powder in steps 1 and 2).
Serve with lashings of double cream or good quality vanilla ice-cream.
Sit back and revel in the ooh-s and aah-s that will ensue as your guests cut into the fondants and the chocolate centre oozes out. To. Die. For.