Brownie Pudding: The Chocolate Lover's Go-To Dessert

Move over chocolate lava cake, Brownie Pudding is in town!
Photo courtesy: AHungrySpoon
Food and Wine Magazine recently published an article entitled, "5 Signs You've Picked a Bad Restaurant." While a few of the signs make sense -- for example, it's never good to be ushered into a restaurant off the street -- Sign #3 might as well be culinary blaspheme: chocolate lava cake.

How can a hot-out-of-the-oven, decadent chocolate cake filled with oozing chocolate ganache (read: lava) be a bad thing? I understand that the dessert may have jumped the shark -- Food and Wine insists that "apathetic Italian, Asian and American restaurants" all serve the "now identity-free dessert" -- but I can't deny it's delicious.

That said, if the culinary geniuses at Food and Wine say we can't indulge in chocolate lava cake anymore, we should listen. And lucky for us, I've found an even better substitute for the dessert-that-shall-not-be-named: Chocolate Brownie Pudding. Think crème brûlée meets chocolate lava cake: a crunchy chocolate exterior protects a gooey- molten brownie center. Ina Garten is the brainchild behind this recipe, exclaiming "The edges bake like a brownie and the insides are like molten chocolate. Your friends really will go crazy." I've made it several times now and it's become my go-to dessert. Ina couldn't be more right.

Chocolate Brownie Pudding
Adapted from Ina Garten's Back to Basic's cookbook
Makes 6 servings

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder (Trader Joe's brand is great)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon framboise or Cointreau liqueur, optional
  • Vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream, for serving
Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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