It's been trying to snow here in London all day. We've done our Sunday fixtures of school football, run around like loons, warmed our hands on hot drinks from the cafe and returned home to work our way through a mini pile of homework and projects. And now something comforting is calling to me. Don't you just love when you know there's something buried in your freezer that's going to give you just the right amount of chocolatey TLC?
These Melting Chocolate Puds have to one of my favourite desserts. I used to make them and then lost the recipe for a while. It's buried deep in one of my Donna Hay magazines - problem is, I have over a decade's supply of her mags and it was hidden much too well. But then I found it again. And decided to pair it with a homemade Brown Bread Ice Cream. When I have the time, I love making ice cream from scratch and dusting off my ice cream machine to make rich, creamy loveliness.
The best part about the Chocolate Melting Puds is that they can be made days before you need them and baked straight from the freezer when your guests are sat at the dinner table. And if you're savvy enough to make (a lot) more than you need, when the chocolate craving comes a-calling, you can have a homemade chocolate pud from freezer to plate in 18 mins. And homemade ice cream is always a wonderful treat.
To make the ice cream, you first need to make a custard base. Egg yolks, sugar and cornflour are mixed together in a bowl and then milk brought just to the boil is poured onto the egg mixture whisking all the time. The mixture is returned to the pan and cooked gently over the heat, whisking all the time, until the custard has thickened. It is important to mix it all the time to ensure that the custard doesn't catch and burn on the bottom of the pan.
Then I generally chill it overnight in the fridge but it just needs to cool down completely. To cook the brown breadcrumbs, blitz brown bread to make breadcrumbs, melt butter in a large frying pan and then add the breadcrumbs. Mix them around, coating them evenly with the butter and then sprinkle the sugar over the breadcrumbs. You don't want to overcook the breadcrumbs but cook them for around 5 minutes until they're lightly browned. Put them to one side and cool.
When you're ready to make the ice cream, mix the vanilla into the custard and pop it in the ice cream maker. The brown bread crumbs may have clumped together as they cooled so you can blitz them but not to much as you want a breadcrumb texture rather than a fine powder. When the custard has thickened into the ice cream, add the breadcrumbs and mix for another 5 minutes. I generally freeze my ice cream until I need it, but you can serve it straight from the ice cream maker.
Whilst you're making your ice cream, you can also start to prepare your chocolate puds. Start by melting the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until melted and then put aside. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a mixer and whisk for around 8 to 10 minutes until the mixture has doubled in volume. Pour in the cooled chocolate in a drizzle down the side of the bowl and then mix gently until fully incorporated. Sift the flour over the top and then fold gently. It's important to mix just until it's all incorporated as you can over-mix it and toughen the mixture.
The timing of baking really determines what kind of pudding you get in the end. It's obvious I guess but a couple of minutes turns it from a gooey, liquidy centre into more of a cake with a set middle. Personally I think the gooey centre rules and that's about 16-18 minutes in my oven - but you should test it in yours to get it perfect.
I hope you enjoy this as much as me and have a go at making your own ice cream. If you don't have your own ice cream maker and fancy a no churn option that you can whip together and pop straight into the freezer, try this Mascarpone Ice Cream With Salted Caramel.The salted caramel compliments the puds perfectly.
And make more than you need. Many more. You never know when you might need one!
Brown Bread Ice Cream
Makes enough ice cream for 6-8 people as an accompaniment to pudding
- 4 EGG YOLKS
- 75G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 TSP CORNFLOUR
- 300ML SEMI-SKIMMED MILK
- 40G BUTTER
- 75G BROWN BREADCRUMBS
- 50G LIGHT MUSCOVADO SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 300ML DOUBLE CREAM
- Hand whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl until the mixture is pale and creamy
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until it starts to bubble, but does not quite boil
- Pour the heated milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the time until mixed through
- Then tip the mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over a gentle heat, whisking all the time, until the custard thickens
- Place the custard into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until cool
- To make the breadcrumbs, blitz the brown bread until you make breadcrumbs
- Melt the butter and add the breadcrumbs, making sure that you coat them thoroughly with the butter
- Sprinkle the sugar across the top of them and cook them for around 5 minutes until crisp - keep an eye on them as they can easily burn and if they blacken, you will need to start again
- Set aside the brown breadcrumbs
- When the custard is chilled, stir through the vanilla extract
- Place the custard in an ice cream maker and churn it until thickened
- Add the breadcrumbs and mix for a further 5 minutes
- You can either keep churning until you reach the desired consistency to serve straight from the ice cream maker or pop it in the freezer until you need it - I always serve mine from the freezer
- From the freezer, when you come to serve it, leave it out for around 5 minutes to soften slightly before scooping
Melting Chocolate Puddings
Makes 8 ramekins, from Donna Hay
- 1 TBSP MELTED BUTTER (to brush the insides of the ramekins)
- 200g DARK CHOCOLATE, CHOPPED
- 110G CASTER SUGAR
- 4 EGGS
- 4 EGG YOLKS
- 2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 75G PLAIN FLOUR, SIFTED
- Brush the ramekins with melted butter and pop in the fridge
- Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until melted and smooth
- Set aside and allow to cook
- Put the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a freestanding mixer and mix for around 8-10 minutes until doubled in volume
- Drizzle the cooled chocolate down the side of the bowl into the mixture and then mix gently but thoroughly with a spatula until all the chocolate has been incorporated - it will all sink to the bottom of the bowl, so it's essential that you scrape the bottom and mix it all in
- Then sift the flour over the top and gently fold the flour into the mixture - don't over-mix it as it will toughen the mixture
- Divide it amongst the ramekins and then cover each one with some clingfilm
- Place them in the freezer for up to 1 month
- When you're ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Bake for around 16-18 minutes until the puddings have risen and are set on the surface - a lesser time will create a molten centre and more time for a more set consistency
- Serve straight from the oven with a lovely helping of ice cream on the side :)