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RECIPES FOR YOUR SWEETHEART

Recipe: Individual dark chocolate budini (puddings) for your sweetheart are intense and divine

Chocolate Budini (Individual Chocolate Puddings).Sheryl Julian

Serves 6

Budini are Italian puddings, in this case dark, intense chocolate. The recipe comes from author Alice Medrich, known for her chocolate confections. To make these puddings, which have a brownie quality, beat eggs and sugar until they're very thick and resemble whipped cream. This can take more than 10 minutes. Fold the egg mixture with another one made with melted chocolate and butter. Bake the batter in heatproof cups. Use ramekins or custard cups or even coffee mugs. They puff dramatically in the oven, then sink (that's also dramatic). Serve them warm with whipped cream or ice cream spooned into the hollows formed in the center. They're divine.

Butter (for the ramekins or cups)
6ounces dark chocolate (54 to 72 percent), coarsely chopped
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 eggs
cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1cup heavy cream, softly whipped with 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar (for serving)

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly butter 6 ramekins or heatproof cups (3/4 to 1 cup capacity each). They do not have to match.

2. Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. In a heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan but will not touch the water, combine the chocolate and butter. Set the bowl on the saucepan and stir often until they melt. Remove the bowl from the water and wipe the bottom dry. Leave until warm but still liquid.

3. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt at high speed until they are the consistency of softly whipped cream. The color will turn pale yellow; this may take 10 minutes or more.

4. With a large rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then scrape the entire chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold until blended.

5. Divide the batter among the ramekins or cups. Set them on the baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are puffed and a skewer inserted into the center is still gooey when withdrawn. Leave to cool. The budini will sink as they cool.

6. Top with a spoonful of whipped cream or ice cream.

Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Seriously Bitter Sweet"

Serves 6

Budini are Italian puddings, in this case dark, intense chocolate. The recipe comes from author Alice Medrich, known for her chocolate confections. To make these puddings, which have a brownie quality, beat eggs and sugar until they're very thick and resemble whipped cream. This can take more than 10 minutes. Fold the egg mixture with another one made with melted chocolate and butter. Bake the batter in heatproof cups. Use ramekins or custard cups or even coffee mugs. They puff dramatically in the oven, then sink (that's also dramatic). Serve them warm with whipped cream or ice cream spooned into the hollows formed in the center. They're divine.

Butter (for the ramekins or cups)
6ounces dark chocolate (54 to 72 percent), coarsely chopped
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 eggs
cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1cup heavy cream, softly whipped with 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar (for serving)

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly butter 6 ramekins or heatproof cups (3/4 to 1 cup capacity each). They do not have to match.

2. Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. In a heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan but will not touch the water, combine the chocolate and butter. Set the bowl on the saucepan and stir often until they melt. Remove the bowl from the water and wipe the bottom dry. Leave until warm but still liquid.

3. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt at high speed until they are the consistency of softly whipped cream. The color will turn pale yellow; this may take 10 minutes or more.

4. With a large rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then scrape the entire chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold until blended.

5. Divide the batter among the ramekins or cups. Set them on the baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are puffed and a skewer inserted into the center is still gooey when withdrawn. Leave to cool. The budini will sink as they cool.

6. Top with a spoonful of whipped cream or ice cream.Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Seriously Bitter Sweet"


Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.