Gooey and deeply chocolatey with a generous hit of salt to cut through the richness, and the gentle, balancing aromatic sweetness of a hint of cardamom, these individual melting chocolate puddings are satisfyingly quick and easy to whip up and can be enjoyed immediately, or left in the fridge until you’re ready for them.
Lava cake, molten cake, chocolate fondant, call it what you will, this is my go-to pudding when I’m home alone, or in good company, and desperate for a comforting, indulgent chocolate fix to enjoy with a glass of Malbec, a good porter or, indeed, freshly brewed coffee.
It’s a pudding that I’ve made for years, and it’s one that’s proved fail-proof and resilient to a tweak here and there (based on my whims and fancies) that have, in the past, included being fuelled with Kirsch and drunken black cherries, and (another time) toasted hazelnuts and chunks of white chocolate. While these variations were both good, this take on it (with a whisper of cardamom and a good pinch of flaky sea salt – inspired by my thick hot chocolate) is my absolute favourite.
Because the puddings can be prepared beforehand (and kept refrigerated) and because they don’t take very long to bake, and always turn out delightfully gooey, they’re an ideal dinner party (or Christmas day, for those who don’t like Christmas pud) pudding, too. They always go down well with fresh cream of any sort, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Melt in the Middle Chocolate Puddings with Cardamom and Sea Salt | Recipe
Ingredients – enough for two puddings (scale up or down accordingly)
Chocolate (around 60% cocoa), 100g
Cardamom, 1 pod freshly ground
Flaky sea salt, 1/2 tsp
Egg, 1 whole and 1 additional yolk
Vanilla extract, 1tsp
Cocoa powder, 2 tbsp
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C (fan) and prepare two ramekin dishes by rubbing them with butter and dusting with a fine layer of cocoa powder.
Melt the butter and chocolate, slowly, in a bain-marie (a heat-proof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water). Once melted, add the ground cardamom and sea salt. Then, remove from the hob, stir and allow to cool.
Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric hand whisk until light and frothy. Then, sift the cocoa powder and flour over this mixture and fold in gently taking time to incorporate all the flour and cocoa. Pour the chocolate into the mixture and fully combine.
Divide between two ramekin dishes, place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, run a knife around the edge of the puddings and turn out immediately (the puddings continue to set in the centre, so be quick). Serve with fresh cream, or ice cream.
TIP: if you ever buy individual puddings (to be heated in the oven) that come in a plastic pot, wash the pot out afterwards and keep them. They’re ideal if you’re having a dinner party as you can stack and store lots very easily. I’ve found the puddings turn out of these far easier than traditional ramekin dishes, too.