I like to read food blogs. This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It would actually be really weird if I didn’t like to read food blogs. Anyway, I keep track of my many favorites in Google Reader and peruse their recipes when I have a few minutes to spare here and there. Since we’ve turned the corner into 2013, almost every blog I follow has taken a decidedly healthy bent. They went from boozy cakes and sparkling cocktail recipes to kale chips and root vegetable salads. I guess I sort of understand. ‘Tis the season to detox and decompress. Out with old and in with the new!
I’ve been taking it easier and it feels good. But “detox” is a relative term, right? For some people, it means a full-throttle juice cleanse when nary a solid food passes their lips for days or weeks. For others, it means abstaining from wine or cheese or sweets. As for me, I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since New Year’s Eve. Granted, that was only 5 days ago but doesn’t it seem like forever? It does to me. It’s been nice, actually. However, my mini-detox (that will likely end abruptly tonight) has been incredibly accommodating to seemingly sinful things. Like chocolate. Why?
In an effort to maintain balance in the food blogosphere, I present you with a recipe for a simple, delectable dessert that you should make immediately. If you like chocolate, you will love this. Go ahead and eat your kale chips and salad first, but then eat this hot chocolate pudding. It emerges from the oven soft and molten in the middle with a crisp crust. And it gets New Year’s detox bonus points because it’s flourless and creamless! Just butter, chocolate, eggs, sugar and salt. You know, your 5 desert island essentials.
I got this recipe from dessert magician David Lebovtiz, who in turn got it from his dessert hero, Alice Medrich. I served it with a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate seeds and flurry of toasted almonds and pepitas on top, with vanilla ice cream optional. You can serve it however you’d like. The ruby red of the pomegranate looked festive, but a simple dusting of powdered sugar would work just fine. As with most sweets, I added an extra pinch of sea salt to the recipe because it enhances the flavors. When the dessert is chocolate-centric like this one I may go so far as to sprinkle a little more salt on top when no one is looking. Why?
You Only Live Once Hot Chocolate Pudding
4 to 6 servings
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Per David Lebovitz: “Baking times will vary based on what kind of vessels you use. And you can fill them as much, or at little, as you wish – depending on how big the portion size you want is. Just bake them until a crust forms on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some gooey batter attached.”
Per Happelsauce: There’s no need to butter the ramekins/vessels of choice. Hooray! And, these little puddings are best served hot out of the oven, so it’s best to have the batter made before dinner, then pop them into the oven when you’re almost ready for dessert…about 15 minutes later, voila! Bon appetit.
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1/2 bag (6 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 – 7 tablespoons sugar (use 6 tablespoons if you’re serving with ice cream)
Pinch (plus another pinch) of sea salt
4 – 6 ramekins or baking dishes of equal size, about 3-4 inches in diameter
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Set ramekins or baking dishes on a baking sheet.
2. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium-sized bowl, and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring gently until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat.
3. Using an electric mixer, or by hand with a whisk, whip the eggs, sugar, and salt until the mixture is light and foamy, and just holding its shape – about 5 minutes with a machine, or longer by hand. Fold one-third of the beaten eggs into the chocolate to lighten it, then scrape the lightened chocolate mixture over the beaten eggs, and fold it in just until there are no streaks of eggs visible.
4. Divide the batter into the baking dishes, filling them no more than 3/4 full.
5. Bake the puddings on the lower rack of the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until the puddings are puffed up, but a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some soft, gooey chocolate attached.
6. Pass the spoons and serve immediately with toppings of your choice.