Hot Chocolate Pudding Cakes

3 or 4 ounces (85/115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
6 ounces (170g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (65g) sugar (see Note)
pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Set ramekins or baking dishes on a baking sheet.

2. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium-sized bowl, and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring gently until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat.

3. Using an electric mixer, or by hand with a whisk, whip the eggs, sugar, and salt until the mixture is light and foamy, and just holding its shape – about 5 minutes with a machine, or longer by hand. Fold one-third of the beaten eggs into the chocolate to lighten it, then scrape the lightened chocolate mixture over the beaten eggs, and fold it in just until there are no streaks of eggs visible.

4. Divide the batter into the baking dishes, filling them no more then 3/4rds full.

5. Bake the puddings on the lower rack of the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until the puddings are puffed up, but a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some soft, “gooey” chocolate attached.

Adapted by David Lebovitz from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts (Artisan) by Alice Medrich

His notes:

To show how versatile this recipe is, I made them twice, varying the recipe, which resulted in two delicious types of dessert. I dialed down the sugar and reduced the butter, and each one had its own distinct personality. So feel free to use either 3- or 4-ounces of butter, depending on if you want them very creamy (3 ounces) or a little more cake-like (4 ounces.)

Baking times will vary based on what kind of vessels you use. And you can fill them as much, or at little, as you wish – depending on how big the portion size you want is. Just bake them until a crust forms on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some gooey batter attached.

Serving and Storage: These can be served immediately, or according to Alice, you can “let cool, cover, and keep at room temperature for up to a day.” You can likely freeze them and bring them to room temperature before baking, although since they’re so simple to make, I advise making them fresh for best results.

Notes: I modified the original recipe, which had 2/3 cup of sugar since I was serving them with ice cream. Reducing the sugar makes them a bit less-moist, so it’s up to you to decide which you prefer. Alice doesn’t butter her bowls but I did the first time, yet not the second, and couldn’t discern much difference, so she likely left it out since it’s not imperative and is one less step.

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