So good I made it twice

In life there are winners and there are losers.

The same thing goes with my kitchen.

For every bell ringing, toe-prancing success there’s bound to be some squelching, forehead slapping fails.

More often than not I’ll boast about successes here.

In the interest of balance, I think this time it’s only worth describing one if it’s counterbalanced by it’s sad sibling.

This is the story of my search for a foolproof soft centered chocolate pudding.

It’s what’s perfect for the “I’ve just swanned in from work on a Friday evening and somehow volunteered to cater for how many people tonight (?)- when really I’d like to be sucking back Rose, eating Lavosh and Blue Castello plucked from the fridge with half a sliced pear and watching Swingers, and wondering when exactly it was that Vince Vaughn got chubby…”

Maybe he had too many nights with the Lavosh and cheese on the couch too.

So instead I play Suzie ‘look at me’ Housewife and take the underwear on the washing line upstairs, put all the papers in a pile, grab some wine and wrap it in a wet tea towel in the freezer and scan the fridge for what in heavens do I have on hand that can make up an easy dessert for four.

When I say ‘easy’ I mean- I don’t want to have to separate any eggs. I don’t want to pull out my electric mixer. I don’t really want to have to measure or weigh anything. I don’t want to go digging for my double boiler. I certainly don’t want any de ja vu to the accoutrement on display at reception at my old job at Family Planning by messing with gelatin sheets.

I want to be able to put it in the oven and then pull it out in about 12 minutes, add something creamy from a carton and have it look impressive on the table and taste just fine.

So here it is; the no mess, no fuss, everything can easily be kept in the cupboard/fridge/freezer, perfect soft centered chocolate pudding recipe.

Come home from work. Take off your shoes. If you can’t wait, pour yourself a drink.

You’re going to want to grab:
A pack of Lindt dark chocolate. Unsalted butter. Brown sugar. Plain flour. Ground almonds. Two eggs. Frozen cherries or berries. And a muffin tin.

Break up 100 grams of dark chocolate into little pieces.

Add it to 50 grams of butter. The butter packets which have the markings are great, because you don’t need to muss with scales- anyway, 50 grams is one fifth of a 250 gram stick of butter.

Melt the two together. You can melt it in a saucepan, or in the microwave in 20 second blasts. The butter will protect the chocolate from siezing.

Stir it around until it’s all glossy and melted. Put it to one side and let it cool a little.

In another larger bowl take two eggs and whisk them together. You can use a whisk, or a fork, or your fingers, so long as they’re clean.

Add to that half a cup of brown sugar. That’s about four tablespoons. If you’ve got it you can also add a splash of vanilla extract- about half a teaspoon. If not, no drama.

To the eggs and sugar then add a third of a cup of plan flour- that’s about three tablespoons, and two tablespoons of ground almonds.

Take a muffin tin and grease four of the holes with a bit of butter ( I find the good old spreadable Lurpak on some paper towel works wonders).

Add the chocolate and butter to the eggs, flour, almond meal and sugar. Mix it together and spoon it into the muffin tins.

In the centre of each uncooked pudding insert a frozen cherry, or a couple of frozen berries.

Cook them for around 12 minutes on a 180 C oven. The tops want to be cooked, but you still want them a little gooey in the centre. The berries will help this. When they melt they throw a little juice.

Serve the puddings warm with fresh berries, and something from a carton that’s white. I like creme fraiche or tart yogurt, so it’s not so sweet- but ice cream would be more than fine.

The beauty about this recipe is that it’s so easy to halve if there’s only the two of you, or multiply if there are more.

So after feeling so very clever and having made it twice over the course of the weekend (repeated on Sunday night to follow take away noodles while watching Wall Street ) I then took ‘greed is good’ a little too far. I thought I could whip up anything on a whim. Let’s just say my self confidence went a little Gordon Gecko on me.

The necessary ego correction came last night. I was feeling all thrifty and ‘let’s use what we have on hand’, rather than buying anything more.

I skipped home, made a strange hybrid on a frittata, using up the onions, roasting garlic, cherry tomatoes and sloshing in some frozen peas, bound together with a chickpea flour bechamel, two egg yolks, five egg whites ( more protein, less fat) and some mozzarella ( there goes the no fat). Then I thought the Hungry One deserved a little dessert.

So into a ramekin go frozen berries and cherries. Pressed ontop were a mixture of a teaspoon of unsalted butter, rubbed through some brown sugar, oats and flaked almonds.

In the oven for seven minutes, out it comes, bubbling and toasty. But the frozen berries have; as they do; thrown, seeped and wept their juices into a crimson lake.

“Mmmm” said the Hungry One as he tucked into it.

“It’s like muesli soup- with hot berries”.

Like I said, you win some you lose some. But the Hungry One still ate it all.

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