Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mocha Pudding Cakes

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoons table salt
1 1/4 cups strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)

Position rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350. Butter eight 6 oz. ramekins and arrange them in a baking dish or roasting pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter with 2/3 cup of the sugar and the egg yolks until smooth and light, about 1 minute. Add the cocoa, flour, and salt and pour in just enough of the coffee to whisk the flour smoothly into the egg yolk mixture. Then whisk the remaining coffee, along with the milk and vanilla, until smooth. The mixture will be very fluid.

Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Reduce the speed on the mixer, and slowly sprinkle in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat until the whites hold medium firm peaks.

Scrape 1/3 of the egg whites onto the egg yolk mixture, and whisk to combine. Gently fold in the remaining batter. The batter will be thin.

Portion the mixture evenly among the ramekins. The cakes will not rise much, so it is possible to fill to close to the top. Pull out the oven rack, and place the baking dish full of ramekins on the rack. Pour warm water into the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the tops of the cakes are slightly puffed and, when touched with a finger, they feel spongy and bounce back a bit, but hold a slight indentation - 25 to 30 minutes.

Using tongs, carefully transfer the ramekins to a rack. Let cool at room temperature, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Serve with whipped cream.

--Adapted from fine Cooking - Chocolate magazine

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