This weekend is the nearest weekend to the Chief Tester's birthday, and also the first anniversary of this blog. My own birthday was last weekend. The Chief Tester usually gets something new for his birthday treat, even though he's much nearer to 30 than 3! It was going to be the Chocolate and Hazelnut Plait which I posted previously, but that was hardly successful enough to serve as a birthday treat.
Hubs and I are off on holiday to Canada mid-week, leaving the Chief Tester to two weeks of ready meals and whatever I leave in the freezer. I usually leave him two batches of brownies - one ready to eat and one in smaller portions in the freezer, so that he doesn't have to rely on bought cakes. This meant that for his birthday treat I wanted to cook something that was going to be eaten all at once, with no leftovers to compete with the forthcoming brownies.
After searching fruitlessly through my recipe books, and online, for something which tempted me to cook it, for some reason molten middle chocolate puddings sprang to mind. I've seen Delia Smith's Melting Chocolate Puddings recipe recommended frequently, so decided to try that. The only other attempt I've ever made on this type of pudding involved a lovely recipe with a lump of ganache in the middle - but I've lost the recipe, and didn't have time to make a ganache, anyway.
I only had 6 pudding basins of the correct size, but fortunately the recipe divided easily, so that I could cook 3/4 of it. The other advantage of this recipe is that the batter can be made well ahead of time and refrigerated, or even frozen until required. So no last minute preparation hassle while you're trying to cook and serve the main course. This time I made the batter mix during the afternoon, refrigerated three puddings for use later in the day and froze three for another time.
I had no problems with the recipe, although you do have to be patient and gentle with folding the chocolate into the mousse-y egg mixture. I cooked for the time specified in the recipe and got a small still-molten centre as a result - I think they could have done with a little less cooking to give more of a molten middle so I'll try 30-45 seconds less next time! My pudding basins were non-stick, so turned out easily, without needing a knife run round the edge.
The resulting pudding is surprisingly light, but still richly chocolatey. The cake part is really more of a cooked mousse than a sponge, with the batter using so many eggs and so little flour. With the ease of advanced preparation, this could easily be a dinner party dessert, although you might want help with turning out a large number of puddings quickly, to serve while they were still hot and molten.