I couldn't tantalise you with Wednesday's On The Side column about the development of chocolate without bringing you something to get your teeth into. To make sure my own sweet shortcomings don't get in the way, I bring you offerings from two maestros, Sarah Mellersh and Lesley Johnston.

Sarah Mellersh's Gooey Hot Chocolate Puddings

This is a fabulous recipe. Under no circumstances over cook it. The huge pleasure is cutting into it and having the flow of molten chocolate ooze out. I have on occasion had problems with them sticking to the moulds - make sure these are well prepared.

Ingredients (serves 4)

125g butter, plus extra to grease the moulds; 125g good dark chocolate (70% cocoa is good), broken into pieces; ½ tsp vanilla extract (NOT essence); 2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk; 2 tbsp plain flour; 50g soft brown sugar; cocoa powder for dusting the moulds; icing sugar or cocoa powder for dusting at the end (optional).

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Preheat the oven to 180˚C/Mark 4. Brush 4 pudding moulds/ramekins well with butter, then coat the buttered side with cocoa powder, tapping off any excess. Pause to check that you have in fact coated the inside of your moulds, which failing stop and start again. Transfer the moulds to a baking sheet.

Place the chocolate and butter in a double saucepan if you have one, or in a heatproof bowl over (not touching) a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Take the bowl off the pan and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, but not set.

Put the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric beater on a high speed, cream together until the mixture is thick, pale and fluffy and has doubled in volume. Add the cooled chocolate mixture, then finally fold in the flour.

Divide the mixture among the moulds. Fill each so it is ¾ full. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, depending on your oven. For an efficient modern oven, 12 is enough.

You could serve these in the mould. While that avoids the risk of them sticking you won't get the lovely dramatic effect. Better to turn them out on to a plate. Dust if you wish with icing sugar or cocoa powder or both. Serve with whatever you like - cream, crème fraȋche or whatever. For me, vanilla ice cream is best, the cold ice cream contrasting with the molten lava of hot chocolate.

Lesley Johnston's Chocolate Mousse

This is a show stopper. If we were catering for a party for our friends without this on the table I fear there might be a near riot. It's based on a Delia recipe, but minus the cream and the booze. Delia would serve this in individual glasses. Lesley just makes a big bowlful. A word of warning: fisticuffs can ensue over who gets to scrape the bowl.

Ingredients

(Serves 8+)

900g dark chocolate; 8 eggs, separated.

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Melt the chocolate as per the previous recipe. Beat the egg yolks and add, a little at a time, to the warm chocolate mixture, then leave to cool for 15 minutes. Beat the egg whites to the soft peak stage. Don't over beat. Fold them into the chocolate mixture, transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill until firm. This will take at least four hours.

In Delia's recipe, once the mixture has set, and just before serving, she makes a few holes in the surface and pours booze in. The obvious contenders would be brandy or rum, but you could use amaretto, or whatever you fancy. If you want to be more cookery school like, decorate as your imagination sees fit.

3 Comments

  1. Robert Corrigan on 2nd October 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Nice choice of recipes. I use the Delia Smith recipe for the melting chocolate puddings.
    These as you know can be made in advance and kept in the fridge overnight. They also freeze well and can be baked from frozen. Usually a 14 to 16 minute bake. 👍🍷

    • Tom Johnston on 3rd October 2020 at 11:54 am

      Depends on your oven I guess. I was chatting about this recipe last night with my chum Diana, who is a fabulous cook. She too has had problems with these puds sticking to the moulds. Glad it’s not just me

  2. Fiona Garwood on 2nd October 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Chocoholics delight. Thanks

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