I approached the gate. “Tickets, please,” said the Gatekeeper.
“Sorry sir, tickets, for heaven?”
“Everybody needs a ticket. End a’ da line.”
Searching for camaraderie, I spot a stout man. His skin is dark and rugged, like sea-faring men. A white top hat caps his thick silken hair melting down his back.
A crimson plume flutters as he turns and with a broad smile he flashes his garnet teeth.
“My child, do not be alarmed,” he chuckles. The chuckle erupts into a laughter that soon becomes soundless-- full of motion: his shoulders convulse and his belly undulates with the weight of his happiness in his own voice. A small pool of drool forms at the corner of his mouth and dribbles down his chin.
“Yes, my child?”
“I don’t have a ticket.”
“Everyone has a ticket. You must know where to find it.”
“But I don’t. I don’t have a ticket.”
From behind his back he flings a gnarled, ebony cane into the air: “You must know where to FIND IT!”
I search my pockets, patting myself over. I am at a loss. The line is progressing and still I am without a ticket. “Please sir,” I beg, “you must help me!”
The gate begins to radiate. In its ballooning heat it turns from gold to blue to red. Its heat is overtaking me. I am sweating, blind, losing control of my senses and I fall to my knees, desperate. The gate erupts, sprinkling a crimson dust onto the crowd. The stout man giggles. His dark skin quivers. Flinging off his white top hat, hopping from foot to foot, he flashes his scarlet teeth. The erupted gate covers his white top hat and dribbles onto his skin. It is thick, molasses-like. “You have FOUND IT!” He shouts. “My child you have found it!” It is heaven.
This cake is ecstasy. It is heaven. It is sin, joy, rich, chocolatey, gooey, crisp and pure, sweet gluttony. I received this recipe from my mother. As noted earlier, she takes the odd cooking class and passed this recipe on to me (though I added the crowning glory: a drizzle of pomegranate syrup).
This recipe is often found on menus. Usually it goes by the name of “Molten Lava Chocolate Cake” or something of the sort. That is a misnomer. It is more than that. It is perfect. It is decadence, gluttony, golden. It is heaven.
Weighing effort against results, this is one of the most painless recipes I have ever tried. When this emerged from the oven, D danced gleefully from foot to foot. He giggled incomprehensible words while he added the crown of ice cream, and his hands shook with anticipation when I began to drizzle the pomegranate syrup on top. When consumed, I sat motionless in my chair, unable to speak, smiling weakly at the stout man in my belly. I shamelessly licked my plate. I dare you not to.
Makes 5- 4oz. ramekins. Prep time= 15 min. Cook time= 12-15min
8 Tbl unsalted Butter
8 oz bittersweet or dark Chocolate
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbl all-purpose flour
1) Preheat oven to 400F. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter
2) While melting, put the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar in a bowl. With a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs until they triple in volume
3) Add salt and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture until it is fully incorporated. Sprinkle the flour into the mixture and gently fold until incorporated.
4) Pour into buttered and floured 4 oz ramekins. Bake 12-15 minutes. The tops should set, yet will jiggle slightly when shaken. Unmold and enjoy.
NOTE: Since we were only 2, I halved this recipe. It made two very full cakes. We baked them for 16 minutes, which I believe is too long—too much of the gooey chocolate filling cooked. Also, because this batter was a little large for two, when baked, the cake erupted over the edges of the ramekin (without spilling), making it impossible to remove. No loss, we covered it with ice cream and pomegranate syrup (recipe below).
FOR POMEGRANATE SYRUP
1 pomegranate, deseeded. Retain juice
½ cup sugar
1) Before starting cake, deseed pomegranate. On low heat on the stovetop, place all seeds, juice and sugar in a small saucepan.
2) Allow to simmer while you prepare the cake, stirring every so often so as not to burn. Let thicken. Mixture will bubble. This is okay, keep stirring.
3) With about 5 minutes left in the cake baking, turn heat off syrup. Once cakes are out and ice cream is on, hold a strainer over cake and pour mixture through, catching seeds as syrup drizzles onto the cake. At this point the syrup will be sugar-like crystals and if you're crafty enough you can build some sugar structures as it hardens on the ice cream surface. Succulence. Enjoy.