- Serves: 8
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Effort: medium
- 200 g dark chocolate, (75 % cocoa solids), broken into pieces
- 200 g butter, diced
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 110 g golden caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 60 g plain flour
- 1 medium beetroot, peeled and finely grated
- pouring or whipping cream, to serve
1. Put the chocolate, butter and brandy in a large heatproof bowl, sit the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water and, keeping the heat as low as possible, allow the chocolate and butter to melt slowly for about 6-7 minutes. When melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir it thoroughly until smooth and glossy.
2. Put the sugar, whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl, place the bowl on a tea towel to steady it, then whisk on a high speed with an electric hand whisk for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in volume and has a thick, mousse-like consistency that will drop from the whisk in trails, like a piece of ribbon.
3. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture around the edge of the bowl (it's easier to fold it in from the edges) and then sift the flour over the top. Add the beetroot and, using a large metal spoon, carefully but thoroughly fold in the beetroot and flour. Don't be tempted to hurry it, as careful folding and cutting movements are needed, and this will take 3-4 minutes.
4. Divide the mixture between 8 pudding basins (it should come to just below the top of each one) and arrange them on a baking tray. (The puddings can now be covered with clingfilm and kept in the fridge or freezer until you need them.)
5. When you're ready to bake the puddings, pre-heat the oven to 200C/180Cfan/gas 6.
6. Remove the clingfilm and bake the puddings on the centre shelf of the oven for 14 minutes if they have been chilled first, but only 12 minutes if not; after that time the puddings should have risen and feel fairly firm to the touch, although the insides will still be melted.
7. Leave to stand for 1 minute before sliding a palette knife around each pudding and turning out onto individual serving plates. (If you're cooking the puddings from frozen, give them about 15 minutes' cooking time and allow them to stand for 2 minutes before turning out.)
8. Serve absolutely immediately, with some chilled cream to pour over. As the puddings cool, the melted chocolate inside continues to set, so they can, if you like, be served cold instead as a fudgy-centred chocolate cake, with whipped cream.
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