Chocolate and salted caramel molten puddings
If you didn't think melt in the middle chocolate puds could get any better, think again - these salted caramel numbers will really hit the spot.
Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need four individual pudding moulds (175ml/6fl oz), a hand held mixer, a small pallet knife and a cook's thermometer.
To prepare the pudding moulds
For the salted caramel
For the puddings
For the vanilla cream
Lightly toast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan over a low heat. When pale golden-brown set them aside to cool.
Spray the pudding moulds with cake release spray and then divide the flaked almonds between the moulds. Using a small sieve, generously dust the inside of the moulds with cocoa powder. Place in the freezer.
For the salted caramel, place the golden syrup, caster sugar and four tablespoons of water in a small pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
Using a sugar thermometer, check the temperature of the caramel. When it reaches 160C/320F remove from the heat and stir in the cream and salt. Carefully pour the caramel into an ice cube tray. Allow to cool and then place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
For the puddings, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Set aside to let the chocolate melt in the hot butter, stirring occasionally. Once cool (but still liquid) add the sieved flour and stir until incorporated and smooth.
Break the eggs into a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (do not allow the water to touch the bowl). Whisking the eggs all the time, gradually add the sugars until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy (about seven minutes using a hand-held mixer). Remove the mixture from the heat and fold in the chocolate mixture and a pinch of salt.
Take the moulds from the freezer and fill evenly with the mixture. Place the moulds in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the vanilla cream, whisk the cream until it begins to thicken then fold in the sugar and vanilla seeds. Spoon into a piping bag and put in the fridge.
For the puddings, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Select a baking tray large enough to fit the pudding moulds.
Working quickly, remove the moulds from the fridge and place on the baking tray. Remove the salted caramel from the freezer and scoop out the contents with a teaspoon and push into the pudding mixture, ensuring the caramels are encased in the pudding mixture.
Bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides look cooked but the middle is still a little wobbly. Remove from the oven and let the puddings sit in their moulds for three minutes.
Slide a small palette knife around the inside edges of the moulds and carefully turn them out onto serving plates. Pipe some vanilla cream next to each pudding and serve.