I had my Fantasy Football draft last Wednesday night and one of my league mates came over for dinner and the draft. The draft is something we look forward to all year because it's a fun group and the guys are hilarious. And, ahem, I've been known to do my fair share of trash talking. Once upon a time we all worked together and would draft together in a conference room at lunch time and I would bring in baked goods for everyone. Nowadays, everyone is at different companies so we all draft from our homes. But we still manage to exchange a fair number of quips through the draft chat box.
I made these "puddings" for our dessert. I thought it would be much like the pudding cakes I've made in the past, except in individual-sized portions. The key difference was the liquid went on the bottom and the cake batter was dropped on top of it. I followed the directions exactly, even down to measuring how much liquid went into each ramekin. But something must've gone awry. At first it seemed like these turned out pretty well. The cake part on top was delicious and there was fudgy syrup mixed in to add to the richness and flavor, offset by the scoop of vanilla ice cream I placed on top of the warm pudding cake. But then I got to the bottom half of the ramekin and it was literally liquid underneath, as in watery liquid, not rich chocolate sauce liquid. What cake there was at the bottom was raw. Ugh. Epic fail. Which is unusual with a Tish Boyle recipe as I have several of her cookbooks and her recipes are usually pretty reliable.
So I'm not sure what I did wrong. But to salvage this recipe, I would recommend reducing the amount of water for the syrup by at least 1/4 cup, increasing the amount of chocolate, whisking well and letting the mixture reduce a bit before using it. There was nothing wrong with the taste but you want the chocolate syrup part to actually be more of a syrup than chocolate-flavored water. I also don't think I baked it long enough. While the top half seemed it was baked just right, the bottom half kind of ruined it by being watery and raw. You can also try baking in more shallow ramekins. I had baked mine in - ironically - pudding cake ramekins that are deeper than the typical ramekin. Oh well, failure is just success put off.
¾ cup water
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate morsels
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup buttermilk
Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. To make the chocolate syrup, in a medium saucepan, combine the water, espresso powder, butter and sugar. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it is completely melted. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the syrup to a heatproof glass measuring cup.
2. To make the pudding, in the same saucepan used to make the syrup, place the semisweet chocolate and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cake flour, baking powder, salt, chocolate morsels, and walnuts. Stir in the buttermilk and the chocolate mixture just until combined.
4. Pour about ¼ cup of the chocolate syrup into each of four 8-ounce ramekins or custard cups. One tablespoon at a time, drop 3 rounded tablespoons of the pudding batter into each ramekin. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until puffed and bubbling.
5. To make the brown sugar whipped cream, in a medium bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream, brown sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.