The trees are shedding their leaves, the temperature is falling and it's getting dark early. There's something about the decrease in day light hours that makes me want to curl up with an old novel, a hot drink, a warm quilt and eat comfort food.
Comfort food: (n) food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.
It's my understanding that comfort foods vary internationally. For example, in the US we tend to crave macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and chocolate. In Canada, poutine is a favorite. In India, it's dahl and roti and in Japan, miso soup. Ice cream seems to be the most internationally ubiquitous choice. What's your favorite comfort food?
I have another reason to need comfort. Back in September I caught "the dreaded flu." About 2 weeks ago the dastardly beast decided to take up residence in my rib cage and wreak havoc in the form of inflammation and painful breathing. It's supposed to heal but after too much time off and more doctor visits than I care to recount, it's getting to be a bit much.
Being at home with the dark skies and the falling leaves whirling about with this condition is the closest thing I can imagine to living a modern day Dickens novel. Comfort, in this case, is not a luxury but a necessity. Fortunately, my sense of humor is in tact and my appetite for all things chocolate remains wholly unaffected.
That brings me to the chocolate creation. If you're like me and you're comforted by things that are simple, warm, chocolaty and delectable - this dessert is for you.
Brown Sugar and Chocolate Baked Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Brown Sugar and Chocolate Baked Pudding
150 g. self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
50 g. good quality cocoa powder
275 g. dark brown sugar, preferably from Wholesome Sweeteners
80 g. butter, melted
120 g. creme fraiche
1 egg, lightly beaten
extra brown sugar and cocoa powder for dusting
500 ml boiling water
Preheat oven to 355 degrees (180 Celsius)
Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend in the melted butter, then the creme fraiche, then the egg. Spread batter into one large baking dish or several small ramekins. Sprinkle with extra brown sugar and cocoa powder. Pour boiling water over the top. Bake 30-40 minutes in a large dish and about 10-12 minutes in smaller ramekins. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum)
128 g. egg yolks (about 7 large)
200 g. super fine sugar
1 pinch salt
232 g. heavy cream
540 g. milk
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 tsp. vanilla
Beat the yolks and superfine sugar together.
In heavy saucepan, heat the cream milk and scraped vanilla bean until simmering.
Gradually temper the hot liquid into the egg mixture while beating constantly.
Pour entire mixture into a bain-marie and heat to 180 degrees F.
Mixture is done when it leaves a well-defined trace of cream on the back of a wooden spoon.
Chill and then add vanilla. Churn in ice cream machine. Freeze.
I hope you find this recipe as comforting as I do. Bon appetit!