Blueberries are just gorgeous little things. I have to admit that of all the soft berries on offer during the summer months the blueberry has to be my favourite. Not only does it have the most delicious, perfumed flavour, glorious purple-blue shaded skin and seedless, creamy white interior. It is also absolutely, undoubtedly and wonderfully good for you. Hidden away in those little purple balls are some of the highest levels of anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidants that a person could wish for. Truth be told, I would probably eat them even if they didn’t taste as good as they do as they are so packed full of goodness. Fortunately, the fact that they are delicious means that mainlining the things happens to be a healthy addiction. At this time of year I nearly always have a punnet of the ripe, little berries waiting in my fridge. This is partly because they are so irresistible and equally because my parents happen to live next to a blueberry farm!
Some things in life we do because we have to, others we do because it’s just plain enjoyable. Picking your own fruit seems to encompass both those situations and I rather love it for that. You can’t argue with the pleasures of wandering down rows of fruit laden bushes, plucking ripe and juicy berries from their stems and dropping them into your mouth, er, I mean, bowl. When you live next door to such a place, for a few months of the year, everyday is started with a bowl of these glorious little berries. Having used them for a variety of different dishes, I decided that they would probably work very well in these chocolate pot puddings. I usually use a chopped pear for the filling, but this time round I thought it would be delightful to come across the odd blueberry or two, bursting in flavour and juices amidst the melted chocolate. Delicious, especially when served with a pouring of Oat Cream.
For this pudding I have chosen to use ground flax seeds to replace the eggs. Flax is not always my first choice in baking as it can create a gummy centre, although it works wonders as a binder. In this particular case the ground flax only adds to the soft and gooey texture of the puddings, making them feel and taste even more indulgent.
Measurements matter when baking with flax, so I recommend that you being very strict and only use 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed plus 1/8 of a teaspoon of gluten free baking powder, blended with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg that you want to replace. Mix the three things together, until you have a liquid paste and then leave for a moment or two. In that time the flax will suck up most of the moisture and become very thick and dense, it is now ready to use. You can find ground flax seed in any health food shop or indeed, it can also be bought in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
CHOCOLATE AND BLUEBERRY PUDDING POTS
You will need four 200ml ramekins for this pudding
50g/1¾oz butter replacement, Pure Sunflower Spread
100g/3½oz Doves Farm Gluten Free Self-raising Flour
125g/4oz golden caster sugar
50g/1¾oz fresh blueberries
1 egg – 2 tbsp ground flax seed, 1/8th tsp baking powder mixed with 3 tbsp of water
6 tbsp rice milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
4 heaped tsp soft brown sugar (light or dark)
½ tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180c (160c Fan) and lightly grease the pudding ramekins. Firstly, make up the egg replacer by mixing together the flax, baking powder and water. Leave to thicken while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Place the butter replacement in a small saucepan and heat over a very gentle heat until melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool but not set.
Sift the flour, cinnamon and the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the golden caster sugar and stir together. In a separate bowl whisk together the butter replacement, egg mixture and rice milk until combined. Pour into the flour and sugar and continue to whisk together until smooth. Fold the blueberries into the pudding mixture and then spoon into the ramekins.
Place the ramekins on a baking tray and evenly sprinkle the remaining soft brown sugar and extra cocoa powder over each of the puddings. Place the baking tray into the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre of the puddings comes out clean. Serve while hot.