Bitter chocolate and stem ginger puds

“Puds.”

Is that like an adorable pet name for “puddings”? I mean I assume so. It’s hard to know how to pronounce it. It’s like vase or scone or apricot. Puhds or poods?

However you pronounce this term of endearment, I’ve decided to make them for my mom’s birthday since she loves both ginger and chocolate. Instead of doing a full batch, I halved the recipe so there’s enough for just the two of us. Although, I did get a little extra help from someone whose birthday it wasn’t. But more on that later.

First, prep those pudding containers.

Mary and Paul wanted me to prep with butter, base-lining and flour dusting, but I decided to skip one of those three and change another third by just greasing with butter and dusting with cocoa.

Technically after this, I was to melt the chocolate but since there was activity happening around this bake (there was pumpkin carving in my vicinity), I decided it was best to pre-measure things to make sure I didn’t mess up—especially since I had to cut everything in half.

One of those things was butter.

Another one of those things was brown sugar.

Another a single egg.

Even though this recipe calls for 4 medium eggs, I figured math and proportions would allow me to use one single large egg.

Yet another pre-measured bit of goodness is the flour and cocoa and salt.

With all of that ready to be mixed together in very specific stages, I could start on the chocolate.

Melt, my pretty! Melt!

Meeeelltiiiiinnngggg!

I love melted chocolate. It is so pretty.

With that melted, we have something else we need to talk about.

Don’t you hate it when people say things like that? “We need to talk about something.” I know for a fact I am not the only person to jump to the worst conclusions about what that must mean. “You’re fired.” “I’m leaving you.” “Luke, I am your father.” The list of awfulness could go on and on.

This, though, is less about gut-wrenching despair and more about a unique ingredient.

Stem ginger.

This is the first recipe that I’m braving that has this particular ingredient. I’ve passed by several recipes already because of this rarity, but what do they say? Now is as good a time as never? Never is now? Now’s as good a time as any? Is that the one? I’m not sure my brain is working very well. I apologize.

So here’s the thing about stem ginger: it’s not a thing. Not in this country, anyway. I’ve looked in all the usual places, but couldn’t find anything and then it hit me this weekend: the British food stores! There are two in my local area, so I called the one that I know is bigger, even though I haven’t been before. A British woman answered the phone—a good sign. Unfortunately, the only stem ginger she had was one that was $26 a jar. I’m glad she recognized this was ridiculous. She said she was still waiting for her order of more affordable ones to come in, so I decided to go out and try the British store I’d been to before and, if that failed, I’d attempt a Canadian grocery store I knew had a British food section.

So there I went where got slightly distracted by a Doctor Who Trivial Pursuit game and then asked a non-British person for help. She had one jar of stem ginger left for under $10. Apparently it was a popular ingredient because she said she’d been selling it all weekend. I also found an adorable birthday card for my mom and headed back to get this thing together.

And that brings us back to where this blog post began.

Back to the baking. With the chocolate melted, I could start on the sponge by mixing together the butter, the brown sugar and some of the syrup from the stem ginger.

I was to mix until it was “smooth and fluffy in texture.” This took a little while. It was mostly just chunks because I don’t think the butter was soft enough, so I actually popped the whole bowl in the microwave for about five seconds before trying again.

Is this smooth and fluffy, yet?

I suppose so! Next up, mixing in the beaten egg a tablespoon at a time until the mixture looks “rather sloppy.”

But here’s the thing, my mixture doesn’t look rather sloppy. In fact, it looks rather smooth and delicious.

Although, as I’ve mentioned before, sloppy and delicious go hand in hand. So maybe that’s a good goal to work toward.

With that mixture ready, the stem ginger comes into play.

The recipe calls for 5 lumps, but I only did one lump.

“Lump” is an appropriate word for these things. Aren’t they lumpy? Lump-tastic? A little gross? Yes.

Mary and Paul want me to “chop the ginger into medium-fine pieces.”

Medium-fine pieces.

What does that even mean?

I assume this is what it means.

Now, here’s when a helper arrived. I had to tell her that the slicing of the ginger was Auntie’s responsibility because a knife was involved, but by that point my two-year-old niece had already pushed a chair up to the counter and started “helping” with the flour.

What is it about dimpled knuckles that are just the cutest thing in the world?

After folding the ginger bits into the butter, egg and sugar mixture, I needed to sift the flour in, and that’s where I asked for her proper help, instead of just allowing her to stir the (gluten-free) flour, cocoa and salt with tablespoons.

Time to fold.

You know how much I love folding, and how it can be either calming or stressful because you don’t want to deflate it or mess it up? Well it swings a little more to the stressful side of that spectrum when a two-year-old keeps demanding to help.

I let her stir a little bit, but she was a little too aggressive with her stirring, so while I started folding in the melted chocolate…

…I gave her a “special project.”

Cocoa powder, water and a salt shaker. Go nuts, kid!

With the melted chocolate folded in, I had to quickly fold in a couple tablespoons of milk, but I didn’t have milk. I had whipping cream, as per usual, and as I poured it in I realized it was supposed to be room temperature. Mary and Paul told me that at this point, the mixture would stiffen up, but I was more worried about curdling because the chocolate was melted and warm and the cream was cold and chilled. So as my helper kept at her special project, I kept at mine.

She added the entire salt shaker to that mixture. She kept wanting to add salt to mine but I told her it was just special for hers.

Time to put my mixture into the prepped pudding bowls…

…wrap them in plastic…

And pop them in the fridge.

My helper noticed this, of course, and was a little concerned why her mixture wasn’t being put in the fridge. So after she helped me carefully put my mixture into the fridge, I gave her a bowl of her own. She poured her oh-so-delicious mixture into it (spilling half onto the counter) and then wrapped it in plastic.

After some final pumpkin carving, autumnal soup and then bedtime for the helper, it was time to make the puds.

Puhds.

Poods.

As you can see, excellent lighting follows me no matter what kitchen I find myself in.

*fifteen minutes later*

The view if I were a baking bird (as in a bird who bakes, not as in a baked bird):

The view that this recipe is supposed to have: flipped!

Aaaand it’s gone.

Guys, I don’t know if you know this, but things with chocolate in them taste so much better than things without chocolate in them. And when you add stem ginger to that, it’s like a match made in heaven! And then you make a pud/puhd/pood, and it’s all soft and lava-cakey in the middle and every bite melts in your mouth and mm-mm-mm I am making that again!

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