Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meal One, Part Two: Dessert edition

Ahhh dessert, that siren singing you to your doom for the sweet tooth-ed people like myself. I once noted to my mother that if sugar (or more specifically, chocolate) didn’t have calories, I would eat it all day long.

So when I saw a recipe for a Liquid centre chocolate pudding in Heston Blumenthal at Home, I knew it was a chance to try a great dessert and try to emulate (but not replicate) a similar dessert I had at Must Winebar in Margaret River that I had on our honeymoon.

Now, this looked to me much like a chocolate fondant. (The dessert, not the gooey stuff you get inside boxed chocolates).  The key difference seemed to be (other than this being served in a ceramic ramekin rather than on a plate) that this one uses a ganache filling to stop any chance of overcooking and not getting that perfect gooey centre of a fondant. Even the recipes seem, on the whole almost identical.

But hey let’s give it a go.

Steps to be taken:

  1. Make chocolate ganache and chill for 2 hours
  2. Make pudding mix
  3. Cut out plugs of ganache
  4. Put plugs in ramekins and fill with pudding mix
  5. Chill for another hour
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
So the other thing worth of noting is that the recipe calls for a prestigious amount of chocolate – more than half a kilo for 6 people all told. About half of that goes into the ganache.

Right, so let’s look at how that went.

Take your rather huge pile of chocolate, and melt over a double boiler. I used a combination of Lindt 70% and Green & Black’s 70% chocolate. No real reason beyond there not being enough Lindt at the supermarket. Thank goodness it was on sale, because 6 blocks of chocolate is a lot. The chocolate for this dish ended up costing more than my free range chicken!

  At the same time, warm up your cream and some milk.
Once the chocolate is melted, pour in the cream and start mixing.

Initially it might look a bit weird but this is okay, keep mixing and it will get better.
Keep mixing until its all smooth and nice. See? Much better.
Add unsalted butter. (See what I mean last post about Heston just adding butter to everything?)
 Let it cool to room temperature.

Heston has you pour it into a “deep-sided container” until it is 3cm deep. I checked my bowl. Since this seemed to meet the criteria, I just left it as is.
Here is where I look at the size cutter you are supposed to use to cut out the 6 plugs of ganache. I think there is something seriously wrong with the volume of ganache you make – you are going to have a huge amount left over. Hmm..

You then chill for 2 hours. I decided to chill mine overnight, since I was going to have a lot to do in the morning, and didn’t want to be rushing.

So you pull the ganache out and cut out little cylinders of ganache, one for each ramekin. Incidentally, the recipe calls for 5cm diameter ramekins, and a 2 cm cutter. The 5cm ramekins would be tiny. You don't often get them that small and mine are standard souffle 10cm dishes, so that's what we used. And a 3cm cutter to help balance it all out. Oh and made five puddings, not six because that's how many guests there were.

 So this is where I realised that freezing overnight, not just for two hours was a problem. It was hard. Really hard. We tried heating the cutter in hot water but that just didn't help.I tried cutting it with a sharp heated knife. No go.

Husband and my Mum decided to help.
Husband heating the cutter over the gas flame..
Husband using brute force.

They got them out, but partly I suspect because by then it had softened up a lot. If making it ahead of time, I'd take it out of the freezer and let it defrost slightly before trying this. Or, just make it on the day and only freeze for 2 hours like your supposed to. (rolls eyes).

There is a massive amount of ganache left over, seriously you could make 1/3 the mix easy and just put in a suitable bowl. Such a waste. I stuck it in the freezer to work with later. Anyway, the ramekins are ready now for me to make the pudding mix.
Time for more chocolate! Melt another ridiculous quantity of chocolate (diabetics would go into shock I'm sure..) with a nearly whole pack of butter. Add token quantities of flour and a little salt.

 Whisk eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

Fold in the egg mix to the chocolate mix, a 1/3 at a time.

 Fill up your ramekins with their little ganache towers.
 Freeze for an hour (conveniently while you finish making your roast lunch).
As you're finishing your lunch put the ramekins straight into the oven for about 15 minutes.

 Mmmm.. Pudding..

Made better with Salted Caramel icecream..

And proof of lava-esque liquid filling.


These were great, though very rich. So much so that only my husband was able to finish his. Of course mine were 10cm diameter ones, not 5cm so perhaps that's why - but then the volume of mix would have been perfect for six 10cm diameter ramekins. Either way, I think there was either an error in the size of the ramekins you were supposed to use, or in the volume of both ganache and pudding mix. If making 5cm diameter puddings I think that it would have made 10-12 of them without too many problems. (And probably a better amount per person!)
I'm still unsure if they were in truth much of an improvement over the standard fondant recipe, but then I suspect they would be more stable (and can be prepared an hour ahead) which I guess is in their favour.

Guest opinions:

Well received and husband noted they were quite similar to the ones we had on our honeymoon. Mum's very much enjoyed theirs but they (and my daughter and I) found them very delicious, but too large a serving. 
I'd make them again.

Next: I'm not sure. Probably a simple dish as a breather. Maybe a soup?


  1. Wow Sounds like a 'Chocolatey overload'- Sounds like the frozen chocolate was difficult but turned out in the end.. did you have left over frozen chocolate?

  2. Mmmmmm, chocolate-a-licious! Sounds awesome, now to figure out what to do with all that left-over ganache....

  3. This sounds like something I could cheerfully make myself sick eating, over and over again. :-) Love the shot of the lava-esque filling at the end, there. *drooool*

    Looking at your pics of how you were adding the whisked eggs to your pudding mixture and the lift in the resulting puddings has made me think about the cavalier way I usually chuck mine in. Might modify my own actions in future... Now I have a terrible yearning for some lemon delicious pudding, dadgammit. Maybe later in the week.

  4. Hi,
    I am thinking of making these puddings. Would they be firm enough to take out of the ramekins to serve on a pltae?
    Thanks so much for doing the testing.
    Glad I found your blog...can't wait to read more!

    1. Hi Angela,

      No, I really think the molten core of these would mean they wouldn't come out without significant mess. If that's what you are after I'd try a standard chocolate fondant recipe (lots of french cookbooks will have it).

      Despite the need to serve in the ramekin, it is very good though!

      I'm glad you're enjoying it.