It all started almost a decade back. It wasn’t love at first sight but pure infatuation. I slowly fell in love with this charming man who knew how to take care of his lady, was extremely kind at heart and also had me in splits with his jokes. Over the years, our bond has only strengthened, we have become best of friends and more importantly, we understand each other more than we ever did. We have seen highs and lows together, held each other’s hand in trouble, laughed together at silly things, travelled the world together and have grown as individuals together. He has inspired me to do things I would have never thought of doing, he has been my mentor, my biggest critic and my biggest support. On this special day of love, I want to tell him once again in a special way, that I will be with him always, in happy times and in times, when he feels that the world has left him all alone..I will always be there for him.
And nothing more special than baking a chocolate cake for him. Chocolate is Sunil’s second love and I hope he would relish this gooey chocolate pudding as much as he relishes his favorite triple chocolate cake.

Shopping List
Serves 6
For Chocolate Pudding
125gm unsalted butter, chopped
150gm dark chocolate (70%), roughly chopped
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
125gm caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
50gm self-raising flour
For Raspberry Essence
200gm fresh or frozen raspberries, crushed
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 lemon, zest peeled into wide strips and juiced
100ml water
For Raspberry Cream
180ml thickened cream
1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
100gm fresh or frozen raspberries
For Almond Crunch
1/2 cup blanched almonds
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
Few fresh raspberries to serve
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil. In a medium bowl, toss together almonds, sugar, and water. Spread almonds evenly over baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 18 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Blitz lightly in a mixer to get a coarse mixture.
2. For the raspberry essence, place raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, 4 lemon zest strips and water in a medium saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins or until syrupy. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug.
3. For the pudding, grease the moulds (choose the shape you like) and line the bases with rounds of baking paper. Place on an oven tray. Place butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of one-third full of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir over medium heat until smooth and combined. Remove bowl from pan and cool slightly.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla until thick and pale. Fold in the flour and then fold in the chocolate mixture until combined. Divide the mixture among the prepared moulds and bake puddings for 12-14 mins or until risen and just set, but wobbly in the centre. Cool for 5 minutes.
5. For the raspberry cream, whip the cream with the icing sugar to firm peaks. Stir through the raspberries and keep in the refrigerator till the time you are ready to assemble.
6. Using a butter or palette knife, run the blade around the inside of each mould to release the puddings, then invert onto serving plates. Drizzle with raspberry essence, scatter with the almond crunch and extra raspberries and serve with a spoonful of raspberry cream.

This recipe is inspired by Alana Lowes ‘soft hearted chocolate puddings’
Do share how you pampered your loved one on this special day.
A very Happy Valentine’s Day to all!!

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