Hot gooey baked chocolate salted caramel pudding for one (or maybe two)

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Well, what more can I say? A deep, dark baked chocolate pudding, thin crust, a little sponge, and a rich, saucy chocolate middle. You only need half a bar of chocolate, and you can add caramel (or anything else) if you want simply by dropping a few candies or a spoonful of the set sauce to the baking dish. Do it how you like.

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At the first sign of a pudding craving, I’ve gathered up odds and ends of chocolate in my kitchen and made this, both for several of my loved ones and my single self. This takes just a bit more time and effort to do than a chocolate mug cake but is infinitely better. It is essentially a one-bowl affair. I also don’t actually weigh anything for this, just do it by eye (half a bar of cooking chocolate, one marked section from a pat of butter), which makes this super easy and quick. In less than half an hour, you could be eating this ridiculous pudding.

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What I usually do is share the pudding with my partner, just digging into one pot with two spoons. But you don’t have to; I’m sure you could divide them between two ramekins (one to eat later if that suits you), only keep an eye on the baking times as the batter won’t be so deep.

Our little pot is part of a set of four that Mr Pear gave me. He took a cooking class one time and, as a kitchen shop was attached to the school, decided to get present-shopping out of the way. Through some sleight of hand he hid them from me when he came in with them (usually I crawl out of my writing hole to greet him) and somehow kept them a surprise. I’d long admired Le Creuset items but could never stump up enough cash for them on my own, so it was a kind and sweet gift, well-suited to our small-scale existence–which is to say they’re the perfect size for these puddings. I’m very lucky.

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This is one of my favourite things to make and eat. It’s not much to look at, I know, but it truly tastes how it looks: rich, saucy, deeply chocolatey. What are you waiting for?

 

HOT GOOEY BAKED CHOCOLATE PUDDING FOR ONE (or maybe two)
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat, scaled down to 1/3.

This is a very forgiving recipe. The batter can sit for a while before baking, and I’ve heard you can even freeze the filled ramekin. The only thing that can really go wrong is over-baking it, but then you’d just have a set chocolate sponge pudding, which isn’t exactly a disaster.

You can also save leftover pudding for later. Just reheat in a microwave on medium, checking every minute until warmed through.

I imagine you could use anything as filling, only make sure it’s not liquid or it’ll just dissolve into the batter. Presumably you want a contrast here.

ingredients

50g / 1.75 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
50g / 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter in small dice
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar (brown or white, up to you)
1 tablespoon flour (plain flour or cornflour, both work)
1 UK medium/US large egg
pinch of salt
few drops vanilla essence and/or a pinch or two of any spices you like; I love ground ginger and cinnamon (optional)
for a caramel middle: 2 – 4 salted caramel candies (about 1 inch long) or a tablespoon of cold, set salted caramel sauce

equipment
1 ovenproof small ramekin or baking dish with 250ml (generous 1 cup) capacity.

instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/400 F.

Put the chocolate and butter together in a medium microwaveable bowl. Place in microwave and melt them together for 2 – 3 minutes on medium-high, stirring every 30 seconds and stopping when there are still tiny melty lumps of chocolate remaining. Allow mixture to stand til completely smooth and barely warm. (You can of course also do this in a double boiler.)

Add the sugar, flour, egg, salt, vanilla and any spices to the melted chocolate mixture, stirring until smoothly combined.

Place any candies or cold, set sauce into the ramekin and pour the batter right over it (don’t need to butter the ramekin; it makes little difference). Mixture may come up quite high; this makes for a deep, gooey pudding. At this point you can let it sit until you’re ready to bake. I’ve let it hang out in the kitchen for about 1 hour and it’s been fine.

Bake for 11 – 14 minutes (longer if you’ve added a filling). There should be a thin cracked crust on top and the pudding should be a little wobbly beneath the surface. For a gooey pudding, you must not fear the wobble as it means a saucy middle.

Either allow the pudding to sit for a further 5 – 10 minutes before serving or immediately top with ice cream and eat. In my experience, during the warmer months the pudding stays so hot for a good few minutes that normal pouring cream boils away upon contact, so you’ll have to see h0w it goes.

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