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Chocolate Cherry Pudding (a work in progress, probably not ready for prime time)

I wanted to make something with chocolate and fruit but not a cake

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 oz dried sour cherries (about 1/2 cup)

6 oz bittersweet chocolate (180 grams)

1/4 cup sugar
100 grams ground/grated toasted almonds
1/4 teaspoon mahleb seeds (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cardamom seeds (optional)

3 eggs

Start the oven heating to 350 degrees.  Prepare your bain marie/water bath for baking the puddings:  you'll need a baking pan at least 2 inches deep that can hold 6 to 8 custard cups or small individual tart dishes.

Stir the cherries into the applesauce and warm together (heat to uncomfortably warm to touch, but not bubbling); set aside for about 30 minutes to let the cherries soften and plump a bit in the applesauce.
Melt the chocolate and set aside.

Grind the almonds:  whirl in a spice grinder together with the sugar and the seeds (in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your spice grinder, OR use a nut mill to grind them to a light fluffy powder, and use 1/8 teaspoon cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon ground mahleb). 

Stir the nut/sugar mixture into the chocolate.  Then whisk a spoonful of this mixture into the eggs.  Repeat.  Then stir the egg/chocolate mixture back into the rest of the chocolate, and whisk thoroughly.

Stir in the applesauce/cherry mixture.

Pour into the custard/tart cups and place them in the baking pan.

Put pan on middle shelf of preheated oven, then pour hot water into pan (careful to keep it out of the cups)  until it comes about one third the way up the side of the cups.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  The internal temp of the puddings should be 160 degrees.  They'll still be soft to the touch but should not quiver like jelly when the pan is jiggled.  Remove from oven in the water bath (carefully!) and let cool in the water bath to room temp before removing from the bath.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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