I don’t think anyone of my acquaintance can resist those words once seen on a menu. (If they can then we tend not to remain friends long!) Melt-In-The-Middle is always a good start. Chocolate, sure fire winner there. Salted caramel… SOLD!
The best thing is that contrary to everything Masterchef, Great British Bake Off, etc have told you these are actually very easy to make. Can you mess it up? Yes, as with everything if you’re not paying attention you just get puddings and won’t get the melt in the middle. But we all know that you’ll be paying attention, right?
These things are so tempting and delightful that the anticipation won’t let you stray far from the oven for the wonderfully short baking time that they have. You’ll want to stay close, cooing at them as they rise may be… Oh… just me then?
How could you not want to coo at them though? Just looking at them makes me want to dash to the kitchen and whip up a batch. And that’s the other great thing about them. You can whip them up as a last minute dessert without any hassle at all. You can even (if you really really must) just make these as chocolate puddings if you don’t have any toffees in the house… (what kind of house do you live in???)
Now, if I wanted to go all Bake Off on you I could tell you to make the toffee from scratch and the same with the caramel sauce… but these are supposed to be easy! If it pleases you, fine, knock yourself out. But these are a quick, no fuss, high in wow factor dessert just perfect for the recent cold turn the weather has taken. Ultimate luxury and comfort on a plate!
100g plain chocolate
100g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
150g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 packet toffee/treacle toffee/soft caramels (not normal Werther’s Originals!)
200ml double cream
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/ 200C.
– Break up/slice up the chocolate and butter into a microwave proof bowl.
– Microwave for about 1 minute until all of the butter and most of the chocolate is melted.
– Stir until the remaining lumps of chocolate have dissolved and the mixture is combined.
– Set aside to cool a little. (I usually do the microwaving bit first then go get all of the other ingredients together.)
– Thoroughly grease 4 ramekin dishes with butter and place on a baking tray for easy maneuverability later.
– In a large jug or bowl thoroughly mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla with a hand whist.
– Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, stirring constantly with your whisk. If you can pour from a bit of a height so much the better!
– When it is all nicely combined add your flour and mix in.
– Divide the mixture evenly between the buttered ramekins. The mixture should come just over halfway up.
– Put a toffee in the centre of each pudding. Just rest it on the top, no need to submerge it. Add a tiny pinch of sea salt to each toffee.
– Put in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
– Every oven varies so you’re going to have to check them at regular intervals once you get to 10 minutes. The time between totally molten (puddle of goo) and totally cooked (cake) is not great and you want to hit it right in the middle. If you can see any shiny cake batter where the cap lifts then they need longer, the edges should be a matt, cooked colour. There shouldn’t be any obvious wobble, we want a squishy middle, not a squishy everything! If you poke the top gently the crust should hold but there should be a little bit of movement in it. If your finger goes through the delicate crust, it’s not done! It sounds tricky but actually its really easy to eyeball when the edges are cooked enough to hold the pudding together. If in doubt an extra minute in the oven (with a very close eye) is probably not going to hurt it.
– Remove from the oven and gently run a thin bladed knife around the outside of the pudding to loosen it. (Remember, sugar burns are not sexy so it’s ok to let these sit for a minute or two before serving but don’t leave them for too long as you want them warm.)
– Put the cream and remaining toffees in a small pan and gently heat until the toffees have melted and the cream is hot. Mix together well so all of the toffee dissolves and you get a pale caramel sauce. Add a pinch of sea salt to taste and mix well. (Can also be done in the microwave but watch the cream, it WILL boil up high!)
– Turn out the puddings carefully onto a plate. They should slip right out. You may find the the toffee has sunk to the bottom and a little bit remains behind, just scoop this out and pop it back on top.
– Pour over the caramel sauce to serve.