A light and fluffy chocolate pudding

I think this would have to be the most satisfying dish I have put together. I cannot believe there could be a lighter, more flavoursome, more consistently perfect chocolate pudding than this. It is so light, you can feel the air bubbles bursting in your mouth. Yet it is nothing like a souffle. It is certainly substantial, so much so that during my time in the restaurant we had to take it from the menu every now and again, because those puddings we did not sell were adding too much to everybody’s waistline, especially mine. We used to eat the leftovers from the night before for breakfast with ice-cream and cream. Hardly the ideal way to start a long day’s night! The recipe evolved, as is the way with these things. We made an extraordinarily light spicy pudding from a French food magazine, La Bonne Cuisine. So I thought, what if we used a similar method, but replaced all the spices and dried fruits and such with chocolate: would the pudding retain the lightness? Would it ever! It was a triumph.

(For ten individual 200ml moulds)

75g butter

75g caster sugar

6 eggs (55g size), separated, at room temperature

30g plain flour

15g cornflour

250g chocolate — Use Small’s Club, Cadbury’s Energy, or equivalent.

10g milk chocolate for grating


Cream the butter with half the sugar. The best way is to soften the butter in your hands, then whisk in the sugar until the butter is white and light and the sugar is finely incorporated. This is a cinch if you have a Kenwood with a K-beater.


Beat the egg yolks one by one through the butter, keeping the mix as light as you can.


Sift the flour and the cornflour, and fold it into the mix, making sure there are no lumps. Melt the chocolate gently in a stainless steel bowl over boiling water. It should be quite fluid. Allow it to cool a little, then pour into butter, flour and egg mixture.


In a perfectly clean bowl,with a perfectly clean whisk, whisk the egg whites with the rest of the sugar until firm.


Fold the egg whites into the chocolate, flour, butter etc. mix, again keeping the mixture as light as possible. The best way to do this is to mix a quarter of the whites loosely into the mix, then fold in the rest. At the end of it all the mix should be light and easily pourable.


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. This dish is best served in individual moulds with a capacity of between 200 ml and 250 ml. If you haven’t any of this size, small souffle dishes would be ideal.


Butter your moulds amply and dust with caster sugar. Pour in the mix to about three-quarter capacity and cover each mould with silver foil.


Prepare a bain-marie: pour some boiling water into a baking tray, so the water will come halfway up the sides of the moulds.


Cook for at least an hour at 200°C. The puddings should have ‘filled’ the silver foil and will be firm to touch. The best way to check if they are done is to unmould one of them. Better to be sure.


If you are entertaining, you can have the puddings ready at least an hour before you wish to serve them. Just leave them in their moulds in the bain-marie on top of the stove. When you are ready for dessert just bring the water to the boil and let it simmer away until the puddings are re-heated. They will not be quite as light as when taken directly from the oven, but never fear, the margin is very fine. Only the afficianados will know.


When cooked, unmould gently onto a white, pretty plate. Serve with a simple raspberry sauce, at room temperature, underneath. Sprinkle the grated milk chocolate on the top.


Serve with the best ice cream you can make or buy, and/or some lovely rich cream.


If there are any puddings over, never mind. They last for ages in the refrigerator, and it is a great wonder to me that even several days later they will re-heat successfully, not quite attaining their initial fluffiness, but still puffing up enough to melt in the mouth. If you can’t be bothered heating them through, just eat them cold, for breakfast.

WINE — Have you ever tried a big, full-flavoured methode champenoise like Seppelt Sallinger, Yellowglen Vintage or Croser with a chocolate soufflé? If you want something sweeter, try a good Rutherglen tokay.