My house has been taken over by canning jars. They are everywhere. My kitchen, my dining room, inside my refrigerator, and down in my basement. Some are full of obvious things, like jam and marmalade, and not so obvious things, like salad dressing and bacon grease. Others hold dry goods like rice, dehydrated mushrooms, and pasta. But it’s the ones that sit empty, waiting to fulfill their destiny as a vessel, that taunt me.
So I try and find creative ways to use them. Did you know that an 8 ounce canning jar holds one serving of soup perfectly? It does and so I use them when I pack soup in my lunch. It’s this creative use of jars that, to me, explains the explosion of the “in a jar” phenomenon. Pie in a jar? Yep. Cupcake in a jar? Absolutely. I’ve also seen fruit cobbler in a jar, cookie mix in a jar, and of course cocktails in a jar.
What you don’t realize when you start canning is that the empty jars will take up a lot of freaking space. So it’s better to actively use them for something, anything, than to find room to store them all. Besides, everything looks absolutely adorable when served in a jar. Hence, “in a jar” trends.
This of course is only my opinion and is not backed up by any scientific research or independent measurements. Basically, it’s just me:
A) Trying to justify my continued acquisition of jars
B) Finding an way to transition to a recipe for Chocolate Sponge Pudding….baked in a jar.
C) All of the above.
Chocolate Sponge Puddings
Adapted from Melissa d’Arabian
BAH Note: Despite the simplicity of the recipe, I struggled a fair bit. My egg whites fought being incorporated into the batter. And I had to nearly double Melissa’s recommended cooking time in order to get the puddings to set. Of course, I didn’t find out that they needed more cooking until I had a spoonful ready to pop in my mouth…so that one didn’t make it back into the oven and we’ll write that serving off as quality control. After some additional time in the oven, the bottom of the pudding was rich and thick while the top was spongelike and cakey. You can make these in ramekins but I used small (4 ounce) canning jars. So where I say “jars” below, you can pretend it says ramekins if that’s what you have.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used vanilla salt, because I had some)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whole milk
Heat the oven to 325 degrees and spray the insides of 4 small canning jars with nonstick spray. Divide 1 tablespoon of sugar among the jars and completely coat the inside with the sugar.
Combine the cocoa, flour, and salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, or mixing cup, combine the milk and vanilla. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with a hand mixer until the sugar dissolves and the yolks are very pale yellow. Add the half of the cocoa mixture and then half of the milk to the eggs in two additions, beat until smooth and then add the remaining cocoa and milk and thoroughly combine.
In a separate bowl, using clean beaters, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated, being careful not to overmix the batter, and divide the batter among the jars.
Fill a baking pan or dutch oven large enough to hold the jars with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the jars. Carefully place the jars in the water bath and bake for 15 to 30 minutes or until the sides of the cakes begin to pull away from the jar and the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched.
Carefully remove the jars from the water bath (if you have canning tongs, they would be perfect) and serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated…but I can’t really imagine there being any leftovers.