The stars seldom align in my life, but on the rare occasions when they do, the results can be delicious.
It all started with a routine stop at the supermarket to pick up groceries. Avocados were on sale. I love them and decided to load up.
While clearing out my old fridge to make way for a new one, I unearthed a pile of chocolate bars. I buy bars that catch my fancy while travelling or browsing food shops. The trouble is that once I get them home, they stay in the fridge, neglected and uneaten.
I figured that this would be the perfect time to make what a friend of mine has been raving about: chocolate avocado pudding.
It is a simple recipe: Whizz up ripe avocados, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, some sort of liquid and a sweetener and chill the pudding before eating.
MAKE IT YOURSELF:CHOCOLATE
• 100g dark chocolate, at least 70 per cent cocoa solids
• 4 ripe avocados, 850g to 900g total
• 100g unsweetened cocoa powder
• 50ml maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
• 75ml milk, coconut milk or nut milks
• Flaky sea salt
• Raspberries (optional)
1. Fill a small pot about one quarter of the way up the sides with water and place it over low heat. Sit a glass or ceramic bowl on the pot, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Break the chocolate into pieces and place them in the bowl. Let melt completely, stir with a spoon, remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Halve and remove the seeds from the avocados, scoop out the flesh into a food processor. Process until smooth, at least one minute. Scrape down the sides at least once.
3. Add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, milk and melted chocolate into the food processor and whiz until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides once or twice to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Scrape the pudding into a container, cover and refrigerate two hours before serving. Finish the pudding on the same day it is made.
5. When the pudding is chilled, spoon out into cups or bowls, sprinkle sea salt over it and add raspberries if using.
Serves four to six
I will seize any chance I get to make pudding without curdling milk and eggs. The avocado solution sounded really good. I suppose it is great for vegans, but I will continue making this pudding because it tastes good and requires so little effort. The deep chocolate flavour almost masks the flavour of avocado, but I happen to like that flavour, so it is a boon for me.
Some people I know have given up on the fruit because it is tricky to figure out when to eat them. They either take their time to ripen or ripen too quickly. They are never ready when you want them to be.
The best way I know to get them ripe is to stick them all in a paper bag and check the fruit every day. When they yield to a gentle touch, they are ready. Do not use plastic bags - the avocados will just sweat and rot.
Choose dark chocolate, with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids, for the pudding. I mixed up a couple of bars to make up 100g.
The other way to boost the chocolate flavour is to use unsweetened cocoa powder. I started off with two tablespoons and moved on to three and four. Three tablespoons worked best and two is not worth bothering with, but I leave it to you to choose.
Just a reminder though: There is no point making and eating chocolate pudding unless it has an intense, heady flavour of, well, chocolate.
I have used full-fat milk (vegans will not like this) and coconut milk for the pudding and both work fine. Almond and other nut milks are options too.
The pudding is barely sweetened and I like that just fine. I used maple syrup because that is what I have on hand, but honey and agave nectar will work too. Just do not use granular sugar or the pudding loses its silky texture.
Before scraping out the pudding from the food processor, have a taste and add more maple syrup if you like. If it is too thick, thin it out with more of whatever liquid you have used.
I will never get tired of scraping out that glossy pudding from the food processor and usually want to eat it immediately. However, it tastes much better when it has been in the refrigerator for two hours and the flavours have melded.
Do try and finish the pudding on the same day it is made. Avocados oxidise, turning brown. That is masked by the chocolate, but leave it uneaten too long and the flavour also changes and it is not pleasant.
The pudding as it is might be too austere for some. A sprinkling of flaky sea salt heightens the chocolate flavour. Raspberries are a natural pairing with chocolate so I have used them here, but strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes, sliced bananas and dried cherries or cranberries will work too.
So now, every time I am at the supermarket, I check on the price of avocados. There is so much chocolate to use up. I might add some bourbon, whisky or cognac too because, you've guessed it, there is a lot of booze to use up too.