Aztec Chocolate Lava Puddings (Aphrodite smiled)
And for once, I found the weather gods heeding my prayers (perhaps some reward for announcing my Green Living virtues in yesterday’s post), and Cape Town lost some of the spring in her step. A perfect day for stews and soups and hot out of the oven puddings.
Besides, the Willie’s cacao products purchased over the weekend, were burning a hole in the chocolate drawer and there was no better thing for it than to churn out a warm, gooey, lick-your-spoon and beg for more type pud.
I have been enjoying Willie’s chocolate journey, in the BBC feature Willie’s Chocolate Factory: Raising the Bar for well over a year now. I find Willie to be down to earth, passionate (there is no other word for it), tenacious and honest in his vulnerability. I’ve cheered him on through disastrous moments and said a little prayer for his long suffering wife and children, as he has undertaken the epic task of manufacturing the ‘world’s best bar’.When I heard Willie’s chocolate was available in the country I did a little oompa loompa dance of joy and happily headed out with my purse. I acknowledge that this is an imported product, racking up the carbon miles. So is my shampoo. I still hold my head up high. I did try a bite or three of the Venezuelan72 slab, with smooth fruity notes and found it to be perfect- dark, not too bitter and with a clean finish on the palate. I was aching to unwrap the solid cocao cylinder of Indonesian Black (100% pure cocao according to Willie) and start a-grating, as is the suggested method of using this baby. You can imagine, that the evening’s prospect of being chained to the kitchen, was not one I had any objection to. Besides, the pudding I prepared can be made and served in under 25 minutes, 20 if you work quickly. And like many of the more pleasurable things in life, it was over, all too soon.
Lips stained dark, tongue feverishly seeking out that liquid gold, heart beating a little faster…
And in shadows, lay a bounty fit for Aphrodite.photo property of foodandthefabulous.com
I fashioned this, after a Nigella Lawson classic featured in her book Feast, that I have prepared a few times before, all with positive results and glowing guests, staring at their empty bowls with eyes glazed over. Nigella’s son aptly named them Chocohotopots I’ve given mine the name Aztec, in honour of the origin of Willie’s very fine cacao beans, and this recipe differs in its flavourings to Nigella’s. The lava…need no explanation.
Aztec Chocolate Lava Puddings
125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
125g Willie’s Cacao grated
80g Willie’s 72% chocolate bars, chopped into smallish pieces.
120g Caster sugar (In hindsight, this was still far too sweet for my liking. Nigella calls for 150g in her recipe. Clearly she has children in mind. Next time I will use 100g or even 80g of sugar.)
3 tbsp cake flour
5ml vanilla essence (not extract- too overpowering)
Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Spray n Cook or butter 4 individual ramekins.
Melt cacoa and butter gently, in a bowl suspended over a pot of warm water or microwave it in short bursts, checking frequently to prevent chocolate from burning. With this particular ingredient, I certainly did not want to have that misfortune. Mix and set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla together. Add the spices. Add melted cacoa mixture and whisk together. Fold in chocolate pieces.
Spoon into ramekins (roughly half-full). *Being impatient and slightly clumsy, I find this step dreadful!
Nigella suggests baking for 20minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Even in my old house, in the other oven, this was far too long. I baked the puds for 12 minutes and I think the next time I will put them in for under 10 minutes and check. You’re looking for a nice cracked macaroony outside, and a soft gooey inside.
Serve immediately, but do try not to be too greedy and burn yourself on the hot ramekin or with the warm pud.
Drizzling over fresh cream is optional.
perky puddings. photo property of foodandthefabulous.com
Verdict? This pudding was pure bliss. I enjoyed the warmth of the spices, which came across as fragrant and gentle, complimenting the flavour of the cacao and chocolate. Let’s just say, for the next 5 minutes I was really popular in our house.
If I didn’t have to run out to attend a meeting and then run errands, I would have sat down on the couch, and sighed, deeply. And taken a moment to recover from that ‘little death’.
Aphrodite, I’m smiling with you.
Love to hear your thoughts!