You have to be careful with these little Hot Chocolate Puddings, not because they are light and fluffy, with a hot molten chocolate center, but because you might end up eating them all yourself. These are seriously indulgent, a pudding for grown-ups; a delightful modern cross between a chocolate sponge and a soufflé, with a rich, thick, velvety middle. To get the best out of these puddings use the best quality chocolate, something dark and serious, e.g. a dark chocolate by Valrhona. A good quality chocolate gives an intensity about them, with the hazelnuts adding a lingering, nutty depth, so make them when you have time to relax and enjoy them fully. Adding a little single cream before serving helps balance the richness.
Hot Chocolate Puddings Recipe
Makes 4 puddings
These little puddings are normally made in small ramekins, but if you have some nice heat-proof (porcelain) cups and saucers you can bake them in the cups and serve them on the saucers with a little spoon and a pouring jug full of single cream, as if you were serving indulgent hot chocolate drinks. Good quality porcelain cups can handle being put in the oven at these temperatures, for this length of time (do not use fine china, or bone china cups or cups with metal rims etc.) many porcelain cups are labelled dishwasher and microwave safe, and these are the ones you should use.
- 200g dark, fine quality dark chocolate (70%)
- 150ml single cream
- 50g butter
- 100g sugar
- 3 eggs
- 40g Hazelnuts (toasted and ground)
- 200ml single cream
- Dusting of icing sugar
Preheat the oven at 200˚C and lightly butter 4 small ramekins (or butter some heat-proof porcelain cups).
In a dry pan toast the hazelnuts on a high temperature for three minutes, constantly shaking the pan to move the nuts over the heat. Then tip into a pestle and mortar and crush the nuts into small, fine pieces, ground into almost a powder.
In a glass basin, suspended over a gently simmering saucepan of water, break the chocolate into rough pieces and leave to melt without stirring.
In two medium sized mixing bowls separate the eggs; yolks in one, whites in the other. Whisk the egg yolks, then beat in the sugar until thick and creamy. Then whisk the egg whites till airy and almost stiff.
When the chocolate has melted take off the heat, allow to cool for a few minutes then stir in the butter and cream into the chocolate, and add in the hazelnuts, which will thicken the mixture. Be careful that the temperature of the chocolate is not too hot, otherwise adding the cream and butter might make the mixture ‘split’. (If it does split, mix thoroughly, and it will come back together after adding the egg-yolks and sugar).
Mix the egg-yolks and sugar into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the beaten egg whites. Take care not to over mix, we are folding in the air of the egg whites.
Scoop or ladle the chocolate pudding mixture equally into the four buttered ramekins or cups (just over half way) and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 200C until risen.
The tops should be cracked and the centres still slightly wobbly, with a hot molten interior, allow to cool for a few minutes then serve. Dust over some icing sugar and to reduce the intensity of the chocolate a tablespoon of single cream is also recommended poured on the top. Eat slowly and relax …