Whiskey Sorbet + Dark Chocolate Pudding Cakes

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This is a frisky marrying of a very new and very old recipe. This first one is adapted from the NY Times Dark Chocolate Mint Sorbet recipe. This sorbet is so dang easy to make I can hardly stand it. Zero cream. Nada eggs. Which makes me feel like I’m practically juicing it’s so healthy. I’m digging booze-cooking this week, so I wanted to see if I could warp this recipe a bit…and it turned out beautifully. I also shortened the time it takes to make this and I don’t think it affected the quality whatsoever. I think we could take the flavors in a number of directions…I will probably  futz with this recipe more later.

The Pudding Cakes…ahhh. These are unbelievably delicious and easy to make. Just like the sorbet, they can be made ahead. I love easy, make-ahead stuff. This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat cookbook. It’s one of those cookbooks that you can cozy up and read like a book. I also like that it reads decidedly British. It’s like a mini-vacay. I added two extra ingredients (salt and vanilla) to the pudding cakes, otherwise this is all Nigella.

I’ve been making these pudding cakes since I was in college…I love recipes like that…there’s so much history in there. I made these for one of my oldest, dearest friends back when I was 26 and he said, ‘This is what you make the guy that you want to marry.’ They’re oozy, seductive pots of chocolate goodness to only make for those you love. If you don’t like super rich desserts, keep on moving…don’t even stop to survey the wreckage here. You won’t be able to handle it.

If I was having these with you, we would pair these with either more whiskey or a curvy red…a nice elegant Syrah perhaps. This Sleepy Hollow Syrah is one of my favorites. Wait, here’s one more favorite.

Quick thoughts:

  • You’ll need ramekins to make the pudding cakes. Just so you’re prepared.
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can still make this sorbet. When we lived in China I didn’t have an ice cream maker and I would make ice cream by using my immersion blender. You basically put the mixture in the freezer (in a deep container…one that you can shove your immersion blender in) and every couple of hours, blend the entire concoction, scraping down the sides. The key to making ice cream creamy (especially if you’re not using fat) is to keep breaking up those ice crystals. Do this every few hours until the mixture has reached a creamy, but firm, texture. Boom.
  • I will say that ice cream makers are relatively inexpensive these days. So, if you’re thinking about it, I would highly recommend jumping in and buying one. I have a Cuisinart and I love it.
  • Feel free to make the ice cream booze free. You could make it the original minty way and it would be delicious with this as well. I might try making this with coffee soon…doesn’t that sound good?
  • If you choose to only make the pudding cakes they are spectacular with crème fraîche  or ice cream globbed on top.

Feel free to serve these together or separate. Make them yours. Own it. Happy day of love. Peace.

{ whiskey sorbet }

{ whiskey sorbet + dark chocolate pudding cakes }

Makes 1 Generous Quart of Sorbet + 4 Pudding Cakes


For the Sorbet

  • 10 ounces dark chocolate (mine was 63%), chopped up for easy melting
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 ½ tablespoons

For the Pudding Cakes

  • 4 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped up for easy melting
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (you could use regular, granulated if that’s what you have)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar to dust on top


For the Sorbet

  1. Put the chocolate in a non-reactive bowl. Add the whiskey, salt and vanilla.
  2. Put 3 cups of water, the maple syrup and sugar in a saucepan over high heat.
  3. Stir the sugar mixture until blended and bring to a boil (make sure all of the sugar is dissolved) and take off of the heat.
  4. Pour the boiling sugar water over the chocolate and stir to blend. Make sure all the chocolate is melted.
  5. Cover and cool in the fridge for at least three hours. You can expedite this in the freezer. You don’t want the mixture to start freezing, but you need this really cold before the next step.
  6. Using either an immersion blender or a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix), blend the crap out of the mixture. You want it completely blended.
  7. Pour into your ice cream maker and have at it. It took about thirty minutes in mine. If you don’t have an ice cream maker use your immersion blender as described above.

For the Pudding Cakes

  1. Put the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler and get all melty and happy. Don’t let the water get too hot…you want a nice high simmer.
  2. Spray your 4 ramekins with non-stick spray or smear with butter.
  3. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile mix together the remainder of the ingredients in another bowl until just combined.
  5. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture. Being careful to a) whisk the entire time you’re pouring the hot chocolate mixture into the flour-egg mixture so you don’t scramble the eggs and b) mix only until incorporated…don’t over beat it. If you know what I’m saying…
  6. Evenly pour the mixture into the 4 ramekins.
  7. At this point you can either tightly cover the ramekins in foil and put in the refrigerator or shove them in the oven. They will keep, covered in the fridge, for several days prior to baking.
  8. Cook for 11-12 minutes if you’ve just whipped them up. If they are coming out of the fridge, they will need extra cook time…shoot for about 14-15 minutes. The center will look jiggly and under-done. Perfect.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with a scoop of Whiskey Sorbet. And the booze of your choice on the side…
{ on my mind }
  • Watermelon radishes are the most beautiful things ever. Read about them here.
  • My mom’s friend gave me onion and garlic bulbs for planting. So excited. Can’t wait to start planting my garden.
  • What’s up with Kayne at the Grammy’s? Apparently the voices in his head made him do it. WTF?
  • Climate change…global warming. Here’s an interesting read.
  • My kids are leaving tomorrow. Click here to get a good idea of what it looks like during Chinese New Year in Beijing. Amazing. Jealous? I am. If you ever have the chance to spend CNY in China (in Beijing). Do it.
  • The one song that encompasses my time in China, more than any other, is Coldplay’s Speed of Sound. Read the lyrics. This song always fills me with bittersweet memories.
  • One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @theopaul …lots of cool faces across China. We’re leading up to Chinese New Year…that’s where all this China-focus is coming from…and my kids are Asia-bound.
  • If I was in Beijing now, I would be getting my dumplings at Bao Yuan right this second.
  • Do I want to live in Beijing again. No. Thank you very much. But I would go back to look at fireworks and eat Chinese food…and then very gladly get back on my plane to come home and breath fresh air. And to not haggle. And have people be kind and courteous and respect personal space. #gratefulforwhereilive
  • I’m planning a weekend with my favorite Beijing pengyoumen this summer. Can. Not. Wait. They would like this dessert.
  • Double peace.

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  • Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings February 21, 2015 at 6:30 AM

    Hi, my pengyou, I am Chinese and grew up in the Philippines, but would you believe? Never stepped foot on the motherland. Maybe if you counted Hong Kong and Taiwan, where I studied Mandarin in the latter. Guess what? I can’t even speak Mandarin even if I’ve studied it for years. Years! One day, I’ll set foot in Beijing…In the meantime, your boozy ice cream and pudding sounds delightful! I’m planning to get a sorbet maker this coming summer. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • DisplacedHousewife February 23, 2015 at 1:32 AM

      Ni hao pengyou!! My Mandarin is shameful after three years of living in China. I can give a taxi driver directions and let someone know if I’m not happy…that’s about it! Love the whisky sorbet…I like boozy things. I’m counting down the days until I try it with coffee…I think that’s going to be a home run!! xx

  • Jessica | A Happy Food Dance February 13, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    This looks to die for! And I love that you could switch out the booze for coffee in the sorbet – although I plan on making the booze version!

    • DisplacedHousewife February 13, 2015 at 6:40 PM

      Hi Jessica — It’s such a rich boozy sorbet…I love it with these pudding cakes!! I hope you like it too. I think there are all kinds of fun flavor combos that could happen here!! xx