At the height of my hoarding, I owned 300 cookbooks. I stacked them wherever there was room, wherever I could find space, until last year when I started letting them go, one by one, and I now I’m down to 50. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to no longer be consumed by the things you own, to not be tethered to clutter. Now when think about acquiring something new, I ask myself: Do I need this? Do I love this? Can I live without this? Would I be willing to pay to move this? Life suddenly holds a considerable amount of clarity and my home a lot more space.
Over the past year, I’ve been cooking from a fixed amount of books because I’ve had to relearn how to eat without gluten or dairy. I couldn’t be tempted by the pages of pasta recipes or dishes smothered in cheese, rather I had to force myself to explore new flavors and foods. As a result, I’ve realized that abundance exists when you live within constraints. I’ve lived seven months without gluten and dairy, and with the exception of an occasional pizza and bread basket craving, I’ve managed to do the unthinkable–live without pasta.
Yet, I miss some of my old mainstays. While going through another book edit, I found myself poring over the tomes I used to cook from and love, and I discovered this incredible chocolate pudding recipe from Nigella Lawson. With a few simple adjustments, I managed to make this work for my diet, and I cannot tell you how much you won’t even miss the butter and white flour. I made this dessert for a dear friend last night and it was a success! She didn’t even notice I used vegan butter!
INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Nigella Express, modified.
For the pudding:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
½ cup soft vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup gluten-free flour
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
For the glaze:
5 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 tbsp vegan butter
2 2.1-oz Butterfinger bars, broken shards (I nixed this)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Break up the chocolate and melt it with the butter in a bowl in the microwave or over a double boiler. Once it’s melted, sit the bowl on a cold surface so that the chocolate cools.
Preferably in a freestanding mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale and moussey, then gently fold in the flour, baking soda, and pinch of salt.
Fold in the slightly cooled chocolate and butter mixture and then divide among 8 ramekins or custard cups. Put in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, get on with the glaze by melting the chocolate and butter in a microwave (or double boiler), then whisk to form a smooth glossy mixture and spoon this over the cooked puddings.
Decorate with Butterfinger rubble: you can just put the bars in a freezer bag, set to with a rolling pin, and strew over the top. I nixed this as I don’t eat processed candy bars, but rock it out if this is your bag. However, you can top this with candied ginger or honeycomb–that would be divine juxtaposed with the bitter chocolate.