There are puddings, then there are puddings you'd sell your own mother for. This is the latter.
This dessert contains all the flavour of traditional gingerbread, but is presented in a much lighter way. Don't be scared of soufflés – just remember that you have to make them just before you are ready to serve, and take them straight to the table to dazzle your guests!
Eric Lanlard's Hot Gingerbread Soufflés
50g unsalted butter
135g Billington's Golden Caster Sugar
210g dark or couverture chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dark rum
¼ tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs, separated
Vanilla custard, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4.
Melt half the butter and use to brush the inside of eight small ramekins
Tip 25g of the sugar into one ramekin and tap around the sides to lightly coat. Pour the excess into the next ramekin and repeat until all the ramekins are butter-and-sugar-coated.
Melt the chocolate with the spices, rum, vanilla extract and remaining butter in a large heatproof bowl, over a pan of gently simmering water (the base of the bowl must not touch the water). Stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and mix the egg yolks in one at a time.
In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft, moist-looking peaks. Mix a little into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the rest, using a large metal spoon.
Divide the soufflé mixture between the ramekins, spooning it in, and place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for exactly 11 minutes. Serve with vanilla custard poured into the centre of each soufflé.
These soufflés must be cooked just before eating; they will flatten within 2 minutes of being removed from the oven. Be careful not to open the oven during cooking, as this may prevent them from rising.
Recipe extract from Home Bake, by Eric Lanlard, published by Mitchell Beazley
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