12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 12: Chocolate Pots

20141223_092715I couldn’t possibly finish this series without a nod to Nigella. And chocolate pots are easy to prepare, intensely rich and decadent. Of course, you must use the best quality dark chocolate you can find- minimum 70% cocoa solids- and the rest is just a matter of pulsing everything together in the food processor, coupled with patience as the pudding sets.

Mine came out with one too many air bubbles, but no matter. It was gobbled up in seconds!

NIGELLA LAWSON’S CHOCOLATE POTS ( From Nigella Bites.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 175 grams dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids ( I used Lindt,)
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 100 milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 6-8 ramekins, depending on the size

METHOD

  • In a food processor, blitz the chocolate to shards.
  • Heat the cream and milk together until it almost boils. Pull off the heat, add the vanilla and pour this liquid over the chocolate in the food processor. Allow the mixture to rest for 30 seconds so that the chocolate melts somewhat.
  • Blitz for 30 seconds, then add the egg and process for 45 seconds more.
  • Pour the mixture into ramekins and set for a minimum of 6 hours to overnight.
  • Take them out of the fridge and allow them to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

 

Healthy Dessert Experiment: Chocolate Avocado Pudding

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You know I love sugar. It’s in the title of my blog. I consume quite a lot of it. And I know it is not ideal. When I know it’s getting too much, and my skin starts to show signs of it, I just cut back.

I’ll forego chocolate altogether, and eat nuts and fruit for a sweet fix after a meal. (Ideally, one should be doing that most of the time…but alas! I am, at my core, a dessert-adoring, sugar-loving human.) I have tried, but while I am able to cut back, I can never really cut out dessert completely. It’s the Gretchen Rubin moderator vs abstainer theory- except I fall into neither category! I find it easier to stay off sugar completely for pockets of time, (meaning no peanut butter, no jelly, only pesto on my toast,) instead of lowering my sugar intake. After I’ve been off it for a while, I’ll start to indulge again, slowly (but surely!) And then, I am once again consuming more than I should, so I go back to abstaining for a while. It’s an unhealthy pattern, but it’s how I get by.

But…there is a way, you know. Apart from abstaining and moderating. Healthy desserts. The kind without gluten, or sugar, or dairy, like a Babycakes NYC cupcake.

I’ve been reading some special diet/healthy cooking blogs for a while now, learning more about vegan, gluten-free, whole-food and raw diets. And if you are looking to understand more about raw food, Laura Miller’s Sidesaddle Kitchen is a great resource. On her YouTube show Raw.Vegan.Not.Gross, she dishes up some pretty decadent lookin’ brownies, cake, and ice-cream, using all-natural, raw, unprocessed ingredients. While I won’t be making cauliflower pizza or walnut ‘meatballs’ anytime soon, her dessert recipes are more approachable and a good starting point if you are interested in eating raw.

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Chocolate avocado pudding is nothing new- I encountered it first on Fitsugar, and was surprised at how rich and creamy it looked. Not runny, not sticky, just glossy, a little firm, and creamy- like Jell-O pudding. And after I saw Laura’s version (even glossier and creamier,) and learned the health benefits of this magic pudding, I made a trip to the grocer the next day to pick up some avocados.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I left out the nama shoyu- but I did use the balsamic and increased the salt to ½ teaspoon since I was not using nama shoyu. Also, I used light olive oil instead of coconut oil, because the coconut oil here in India has a much stronger, nuttier flavour, which would be overpowering.

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING (From Sidesaddle Kitchen.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
  • ½ cup agave nectar or maple syrup
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Serve!

Takeaways:

♥ Convenience: I give this recipe a 10/10. It’s quick and easy and comes together in minutes, all you need is a blender and your ingredients measured out.

♥  The Health Kick: Well, it’s definitely better for you than  Nigella Lawson’s chocolate pots de crème. Just avocado, natural sweetener and cocoa powder- no eggs, cream or butter, but the same dreamy, rich texture!

♥  The Taste: Hmmm. It’s good folks. Pretty darn good. But somewhere, I did feel like I was eating a chocolate-flavoured avocado. Perhaps it had to do with the quality of the cocoa powder- had I used some phancy raw cacao powder, I’m sure it would have added a richer chocolate taste.

Do you like attempting healthier desserts or would you rather indulge in old-fashioned bad-for-you desserts once in a while?

 

 

Chocolate Strawberry Pudding | Clafoutis-Inspired Chocolate & Strawberry Pudding

So the season of strawberries is here. And unlike those many times when I had to endure several boxes of very red but very bland strawberries, this year has been quite a delight. Most of the boxes I bought had nice strawberries all the way down to the bottom, not just a few choice berries on top with duds beneath.

And we all know that berries are wonderful for a nice, crumbly tart or a warm, wobbly clafoutis.

But sometimes, one’s palate craves a certain element which makes you deviate from the classics.

You know it may not be the right way to go about it; you know purists will scream; but you think- I’ll give it a try, worse comes to worse it will turn into something only I can eat.

This was something like that.

I wanted to make a chocolatey pudding with strawberries, and I didn’t have cooking chocolate or cream on hand- I could use only what I had in the cupboard. Which meant I would have to use cocoa powder.

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I wasn’t up to making custard from scratch; clafoutis was much easier and I like the texture of it-  cakey and wobbly and delicious when consumed warm. Oh, and I wanted to bust out my new ramekins. (Not ramekins exactly, but close…. their next of kin. Ramekin, next of kin…get it? Oh, the bad ones are just flowing today.)

CLAFOUTIS-INSPIRED CHOCOLATE AND STRAWBERRY PUDDING (Adapted from The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Butter the bottoms of 4 ramekins and place strawberries in the bottom of each.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Next, whisk in the melted butter, followed by the flour and cocoa powder and combine until smooth- no lumps! Then add the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk in the sugar followed by the milk.
  • Pour the chocolatey custard over the fruit and bake for 15-20 minutes. Check on it after 15  minutes- I like mine to be more wobbly in the centre, but if you like yours firmer, then let it sit for longer.

This is not perfect- in fact, I need to try and make some real chocolate pudding- but sometimes a store cupboard quickie-bake can be so very satisfying!

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A little cakey, a little custardy, a little rough around the edges most certainly; but the strawberries were warm and yielding and this can satisfy any good-hearted sweet tooth. Sometimes imperfect creations can surprise you!