This lava pudding is intense, fudgy and utterly decadent. Under the chocolate crust is a pool of chocolate sauce. To turn this into a delicious Mocha lava pudding, swap the boiling water in the sauce for strong, freshly brewed coffee.
25 g butter, plus extra for the dish
20 g dark chocolate, chopped
4 tsp cocoa powder
4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 egg yolk, any size
1 tsp vanilla extract
25 g self-raising flour, or 25 g plain flour plus 1⁄4 tsp baking powder (see Orlando's Trick of the Trade)
A pinch of salt
FOR THE TOPPING
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp caster sugar
4 tsp cocoa powder, plus a little extra to finish
FOR THE SAUCE
120 ml boiling water, or a mixture of boiling water and coffee (see introduction)
Double cream, or whipped cream, to serve
Lavishly butter an ovenproof baking dish of about 500-ml capacity – I use a shallow dish about 20 cm/8 inches square. Melt the butter, chocolate and 1⁄2 the cocoa powder together in a medium jug or bowl in the microwave and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the sugar, milk, egg yolk and vanilla, then the flour and a pinch of salt. Transfer to the prepared dish.
Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl with a fork, and sprinkle evenly over the pudding. Finally, carefully pour the boiling water gently over the top.
Bake this unpromising mixture at 140°C fan/160°C/325°F for about 35 minutes, until the pudding is firm in places, and gently bubbling. Leave for 5 minutes, dust lightly with cocoa powder, if liked, then serve with cream, because, why not?
ORLANDO'S TRICK OF THE TRADE
I know from experience that many a cook gets hot under the collar with regard to plain and self-raising flour. I keep both in my store cupboard, purely for convenience, but you can convert plain to self-raising by whisking 100 g plain flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder. It’s that simple – but don’t use bicarbonate of soda/baking soda by mistake.
While talking flour, scientific experiments have shown that whisking and sifting flour achieve the same thing. By all means sift flour if you wish – hold the sieve high over the bowl if you want to get flour over the entire kitchen – but a quick whisk in the bowl does the same job, believe me.