Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baked Chocolate Pudding

Over the holidays, I took to trip to Costco with my parents. I was excited to see an assortment of Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. I'm a big fan of Ina Garten's show on the Food Network, and figured I ought to buy one of her books. The anticipation of looking for new recipes was getting to me, so I began leafing through the pages as soon as we got in the car. The recipes are easy to follow and all of them have a photo of the finished dish. Page 218, with it's full-page photo of a baking dish filled with a baked chocolate pudding caught my eye.

"Ooo, Mama, look at this!" I exclaimed as I passed the book up to her in the front seat.

"You should make that," was her responding statement.

And so I found myself mixing up the ingredients for Mrs. Garten's Baked Chocolate Pudding on New Year's Eve. There were two ingredients in the original recipe that I didn't have: a vanilla bean and framboise. I left out the liquor and substituted 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the bean. This dish came together in about 15 minutes, and then baked in the oven for one hour.

This dessert is very good, but very rich--it definitely needs a scoop of ice cream to cut all the chocolateness. Despite its richness, it has a wonderfully light texture.

One more note: the book's instructions call for baking the pudding in a water bath. I failed to note this when I made this dessert, but it came out just fine without a "bath."

Barefoot Contessa's Baked Chocolate Pudding (with my tweaks)
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter (you will need extra to butter the baking dish)
4 eggs at room temperature
2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 2 quart shallow oval baking dish. Melt the 2 sticks of butter in the microwave (the butter will need to cool before you add it to the batter).

Beat the eggs and sugar on medium high speed with a mixer for at least 5 minutes. The mixture will be very thick and light yellow.

Sift together the cocoa and flour, and slowly add to the egg/sugar mixture. Then add the vanilla and very slowly add the melted butter, beating until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish, and tap the dish on the counter a couple of times. Bake for one hour. The center will look very under-baked. The consistency of the dish is between a pudding and a brownie.

Wait at least 20 minutes for the pudding to settle before serving with ice cream.

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