This is a fantastic recipe: when served cold it is the most intense chocolate mousse in the world; bake it and it will rise and fall almost immediately when taken out of the oven.
Chocolate puddings with matured prune compote
- PRUNE COMPOTE
- 250g soft, ready-to-eat prunes
- 250ml water
- 125ml best-quality brandy
- butter for greasing
- demerara sugar, to line insides of the ramekin dishes
- 250g best-quality dark chocolate, containing no less than 70% cocoa solids
- 125g butter
- 30ml best-quality brandy
- 4 jumbo eggs, at room temperature
- 125g castor sugar
- 250g mascarpone
The prunes are at their best when matured a little and should therefore be prepared at least a day before. Place the prunes and water in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Let them simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Keep a watchful eye that they do not cook dry; add a touch more water if necessary. When soft, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brandy. Leave to cool, cover and store in the fridge until required.
For the puddings, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place a deep baking tray in the middle of the oven and pour in boiling water up to the halfway mark. Prepare the ramekins by greasing them with butter and lining the inside of the dishes with demerara sugar.
Break the chocolate into a bowl placed over a pot of hot water. Add the butter, and stir every now and then until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Beat the eggs and castor sugar with an electric beater on high speed until ribbon stage, about 4 – 5 minutes. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture and fold in gently using a large metal spoon. Divide the mixture evenly between the dishes and place carefully in the water-filled baking tray.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. The puddings will start puffing out but should still be really soft in the middle, almost forming a crust at the top with the inside wobbly to the touch.
Remove the puddings from the oven and allow to cool slightly before handling. Lightly beat the mascarpone and fold in the prune compote, leaving trails of compote and creamy cheese. Serve the hot puddings with large dollops of the prune and mascarpone mixture.
• Pop a vanilla pod into the prune compote pan at the start. Remove at the end of the cooking and cooling process, rinse, dry and store in a jar with castor sugar or slide open after cooking and remove all the seeds and pop those back into the prune pan, discarding the pod.
• The chocolate and butter can be melted in the microwave on high for about three 30-second intervals.
• In cold form it is an intense and firm chocolate mousse. Spoon into espresso cups and refrigerate for an hour to set. If this is too intense, fold in 250ml whipped cream for a lighter, yet still really chocolatey chocolate mousse.