2tablespoonsmild vegetable oil, such as sunflower(30 ml)
powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)
whipped cream, lightly sweetened with a drop of maple syrup and vanilla extract, for serving (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (175ºC). Place 8 (4-ounce) oven-proof ramekins or canning jars on a baking sheet and spray them lightly with cooking oil (or brush with a bit of melted butter).
Place the butter and vanilla pod and scrapings in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally. After about 3-5 minutes, the butter will foam up, turn golden and smell nutty, with brown flecks mingling with black vanilla bean seeds on the bottom of the pan. At this point, remove the pan from the heat, carefully pour in the maple syrup and coffee, transfer to a measuring pitcher, and set aside.
To make the batter, sift together the chestnut, sweet rice and oat flours with the baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup and oil. Whisk until well-combined.
Pour or scoop the batter into the ramekins, dividing it evenly. Give the sauce a good stir to combine (the butter won't want to emulsify, so you'll want to stir, pour, stir, pour...) and pour it over the batter, dividing it evenly; it will pour through the batter, which is fine.
Bake the puddings until puffed and golden, with bubbling sauce beneath the cakey bits, 18-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. Serve the puddings warm, passing whipped cream at the table. The puddings are best when freshly baked, but they keep well, refrigerated airtight, for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until warm for best results.
These heavenly little puddings are adapted from Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup, by Katie Webster.A mild chestnut flour, such as Ladd Hill Orchards, turns out a delicate, golden cake; darker chestnut flour, such as the Italian brands more widely available, will make darker puddings with hints of smoke.If gluten isn't an issue for you or your pudding-eaters, feel free to make these with 1/2 cup each all-purpose and whole wheat flours. I also tried these with 1/2 cup teff flour in place of the chestnut, which yielded heartier yet still delicious puddings with notes of malt and earth from the teff.If you don't have a vanilla bean on hand, leave it out of the brown butter and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the batter instead.Nutritional values are based on one of eight servings.