After a recent episode of my favorite TV show, Masterchef, I was inspired to make chocolate fondants. I have made similar things to chocolate fondants before like the molten chocolate cakes, soft centred jaffa puddings, and warm chocolate pots, but never, a chocolate fondant.
First of all Sam stuffed up his fondants, but in the group challenge, the chocolate fondants served at the wedding made me, and most of Australia drool in unison. I knew I had to give them a go as soon as possible!
I made the batter a day ahead to make my life easier. I made the caramel sauce 3 times. I tried 2 times and failed. When I added the cream and butter to the caramel, it would just turn to toffee and it was a massive fail. Not wanting to feel defeated I tried one last time a few hours later just before serving and got it to work. The key is do not plonk the cream and butter in and stir, add them gradually whilst stirring and it will work. I did have a few toffee shards so I just strained the sauce through a sift.
Other than that, it was relatively easy to make. If you over cook them, you won’t get a gooey centre, which is the key to a good chocolate fondant. I think the caramel sauce is a must, as it has a nice sweetness. I served mine with vanilla ice cream and we all in dessert heaven for a brief moment.
You can make them in ramekins, disposable tins, or like I did, in a muffin tray.
50g melted butter , for brushing
cocoa powder , for dusting
200g good-quality dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces
200g butter , in small pieces
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs and 4 yolks
200g plain flour
Caramel sauce (see ‘Goes well with’) and vanilla ice cream or orange sorbet, to serve
1. First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush the melted butter all over the inside of the pudding mould. Place the mould in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with 1 the next mould.
2. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
4. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter.
5. Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 mins more to the cooking time.
6. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out.
7. Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up.
8. Starting from the middle of each plate, squeeze a spiral of caramel sauce – do all the plates you need before you go on to the next stage.
9. Sit a fondant in the middle of each plate. Using a large spoon dipped in hot water, scoop a ‘quenelle‘ of ice cream.
10. Carefully place the ice cream on top of the fondant, then serve immediately. Repeat with the rest of the fondants.
As we make the fondants in such great volumes in my restaurants we use disposable 150ml aluminium muffin tins, but ramekins work just as well. The cooking times I have given here are for ramekins but if you want to use the muffin tins then 10 mins in the oven will be fine.
9 puddings for 8 guests
If you are making the fondants for a dinner party I would advise you cook one extra as an ‘insurance policy’ that you can test for doneness. If everything goes according to plan I’m sure there will be no shortage of guests wanting second helpings.
Once you have mastered the fondants it’s very easy to adapt their flavour. For a boozy version add a generous splash of Baileys to the melted chocolate. You can also make a chocolate and orange version by adding the finely grated zest of 1 large orange and an optional splash of orange liqueur.