Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mother's Day and Baked Chocolate Pudding with the Works

A few weeks ago, my mom flicked someone off. It was entertaining and mildly embarrassing. She was driving and we were leaving a busy plaza. At a two way stop sign, she slowed down when a lady in a van signaled to turn into our narrow path. My mom stayed put, there was another car coming behind us, giving us little room to move. The other lady began to make frivolous hand gestures, motioning us to back up but we didn’t budge. Soon, she began honking and even her daughter who sat in the passenger seat joined in, yelling through their window. Other cars crammed the intersection, impatiently honking. The lady finally surrendered and as they drove off, her teenage daughter, faced us and with a cold glare, twirling a forefinger to her temple, the universal sign for crazy. In prompt fashion, my mom gave her the middle finger. I beamed and couldn’t have been more proud of her.

My mom is the sweetest, gentlest person you will ever meet. She’s a great shopping companion, never refuses ice cream (especially when offered a Magnum bar), and she’s always there to comfort me whenever I need a hug. She’s my biggest fan of this blog and always willing to sample any of the sweets I make. For Mother’s Day, I took her to L’Avenue Bistro for dinner. We stuffed our bellies till we couldn’t move, I regretted not wearing stretchy pants. This is my third time eating there and definitely remains as one of my favourite places to eat in Toronto. It’s a cozy restaurant with exceptional service and consistently serves memorable dishes.

To start, there was yellow gazpacho and salted cod beignets with truffle mushroom mascarpone cream. The latter didn’t look too appetizing but I could have licked my plate, looks can be deceiving. I convinced my mom to have the buttermilk fried chicken, knowing she would fall in love with the crisp, crackly chunks of chicken. It was served in a citrusy slaw with a little chilli, a good balance of heat and acid. I had the duck confit in a ridiculously good blood orange beurre blanc and green beans. I ate it all, even picking at the bone with my hands and licking my fingers. 

Without missing a beat, our server brought us the dessert menu. We settled on the triple chocolate terrine, which was milk, dark and white chocolate whipped with heavy cream and then frozen. To my surprise, the white chocolate had the most pleasing texture, much smoother and lighter than it’s counterparts. 

As if we weren’t big enough gluttons, I made baked chocolate pudding the following night. It reminds me of a dense chocolate cake with a gooey centre, sort of like a molten lava cake enriched with extra eggs and butter. I topped it with Speculoos ice cream, dulce de leche sauce and crushed nuts, pretty much the epitome of indulgence. Mom and I ate it with our feet propped up on the ottoman, watching tv and satisfying our inner fat child.
I actually finished my portion in three (!!) sittings, it’s insanely rich with a truffle-like texture and big chocolate flavor. I even ate my leftovers cold, straight from the fridge and liked it more, it makes me think of crumbly flourless chocolate cake, something you just can't say no to.

Baked Chocolate Pudding with the Works
From Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich
Makes about 6 servings

I drizzled only a little dulce de leche over each bowl, but feel free to add as much sauce as you'd like (or you can use caramel instead). Also, instead of using almonds, you can use any other nuts you have on hand, or skip it all together and dig right into the puddings.

6 ounces of semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate (I used a dark chocolate with about 62% cocoa content), coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
A pinch of salt

Vanilla ice cream
About ½ cup of dulce de leche
1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds

Preheat the oven to 375⁰F and set a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl, preferably stainless steel, set it over a pot of simmering water and stir frequently until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the pot and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl at high speed until light, fluffy and the consistency of softly whipped cream (this may take 5 to 10 minutes with a handheld mixer). Fold 1/3 of the eggs into the chocolate mixture, then scrape the chocolate batter over the remaining eggs and fold until blended. Divide the batter over the rest of the eggs and fold until blended. Divide the batter among the ramekins or heatproof bowls (The puddings can be refrigerated and baked later in the day, just remove the ramekins from the fridge 30 minutes before baking).

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the puddings are puffed, crusted and deeply cracked but still gooey inside when inserted with a toothpick. Serve right away, or let  cool, cover, and keep at room temperature for up to a day. 

To serve, top each pudding with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of dulce de leche, and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. 

Recipe here!

No comments:

Post a Comment