Stop And Taste The Chocolate
When January rolls around, I sometimes feel like I need a break from rich, sweet food. But when the skies here in northern Indiana stay gray for days on end and the temperatures hover in the 30s, I start pulling out my cookbooks and looking for some sweetness to fill in the cracks.
Yesterday, I remembered a recipe I had for a baked chocolate pudding which I think tastes like the inside of a chocolate truffle. Since I had the ingredients on hand, I mixed up a small batch, just enough to satisfy my chocolate craving. As we ate it last night, it took me back to a catering I did for a local business when I had the bakery. I can’t remember the exact menu but this baked chocolate pudding was on for dessert.
We served the first course then the second course then the third course and all the while the group was chatting and laughing and carrying on. But shortly after we took out the dessert, the room went silent. I motioned to the kitchen staff to stop and listen. Silence had descended upon the group except for the occasional scraping of spoons against glass. I looked at my staff and smiled exultantly. The dessert had stopped the conversationalists in their tracks. All they could do was eat and taste.
As the last scraping sounds ended, a slow trickle of conversation started up again and built back to normal levels. We poured the last coffees, slowly cleared tables, and answered questions about “What was that dessert?”
Last night, as we ate it slowly, savouring every bite, I remembered why it had hushed the dining room. In the middle of January, I needed this food and this reminder that sometimes our senses can make us stop and take in the world, and let everything else go for an instant. A January sun will do that to me too. What does it for you?
Here is the recipe:
Baked Chocolate Pudding
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, high quality (I use Ghirardelli.)
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/4 c. sugar
14 T. butter
Real whipped cream for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325°. Arrange 6 1 cup canning jars in a large roasting pan.
Melt the chocolate over a very low flame. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the whole eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 4 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth. Add slowly to the egg mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
Measure the pudding into the canning jars, a half a cup in each. Carefully fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to reach halfway up the chocolate in the jars. Bake the puddings for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges are firm but the centers are still a bit soft. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let the puddings cool completely. Serve with whipped cream. And add nuts, if desired. These will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.