I think my mother has one of her legendary Pavlovas already in the works for the aftermath of the Easter family lunch but, if you’re not going to be as lucky, these Chocolate Hazelnut Mini-Puds, adapted from a Nigella recipe, are well worth trying.
This mixture makes eight – serving our family of seven, with one left over to fight for – but it’s a very easy thing to halve the recipe if you are serving less people. You do not want to over cook these mini-puddings so the easiest way to make them is to melt the butter and dark chocolate just before lunch, leave to cool then combine with the rest of the pre-weighed ingredients as everyone relaxes after the lamb (it’s Easter – it has to be lamb!), sticking it into the oven while the table is cleared and the obligatory pot of post-lunch tea is made. And please do serve with the recommended jug of pouring cream – the combination of cold cream, gooey chocolate interior, crunchy hazelnuts (and, in the spirit of keeping this simple, I don’t worry about peeling them) and crusty sponge is truly worth enjoying in concentrated silence.
Chocolate Hazelnut Mini-Puds
Butter – 250g
Dark chocolate (stick with minimum 60% cocoa solids) – 250g
Eggs – 4
Muscovado sugar – 300g
Plain flour – 6 tablespoons
Hazelnuts – 200g, roasted and roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 200˚C, putting a baking sheet inside it as you do. Butter eight 150ml ramekins.
Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave to cool.
Mix the eggs, sugar and flour in a second bowl with a hand whisk, then beat in the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the roasted, chopped hazelnuts. Divide the batter between the buttered ramekins and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. The tops of the mini-puds should be solid and cracked but the middle will still be nicely soft and sticky.
Sit each ramekin on a saucer, with a teaspoon on the side. Serve with a jug of very cold pouring cream so that each person can break open their mini-pud with the spoon and pour the cold cream into the hot, molten, chocolaty depths.