Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate fondant - secret unveiled (recipe)

I am a big fan of chocolate. And a very big fan of much chocolate. So chocolate desserts always catch my attention - and especially chocolate fondant. When the warm, soft, gooey stuff just slowly oozes out from the centre of this beautiful cake - I am completely sold.

So why not make them myself? How hard can it be? Well, I tried, and I got it almost right - and when I bake the rest of them, my mistake will be fixed easily. Here is how it goes. You'll need:

For preparing the moulds:

50 grams of butter (salted - normal)
2 tablespoons of cocoa

For the fondants (8-10 of them. I only made 6 out of this portion, because I only had 6 ramekins. And they were too large, even for me):

200 grams of dark chocolate (I used ½ 81 % "Arruba Superieur" (not as fancy as it sounds - from my local Vietnamese shop) and ½ 70 % "dark chocolate" from Tesco)
200 grams of butter (salted - normal)
200 grams of castor sugar
4 egg yolks
4 eggs
200 grams of plain flour

Firstly you must prepare the moulds - and this is a very important step. You can use tin moulds or ramekins - approximately 1 ½ decilitres each. Just make sure you use the same kind every time, so you'll learn exactly how long you need to cook them:

Don't underestimate how important it is to prepare the moulds properly. Use 8-10 instead of 6 - my fondants were too big
Gently melt the butter in the microwave or at low heat in the oven. Brush the moulds thoroughly with butter and put them in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Melt the butter again and brush the moulds once more. This time they'll take a thicker layer because they'll be cold. Then sprinkle them with cocoa, which you strain through a sieve. Put them back into the fridge until you need them. At least 20 minutes.

If you brush the moulds with butter twice and then sprinkle them with cocoa, it can't go wrong. Your fondants will come out easily.

Making the batter:
Whisk the egg yolks, eggs and sugar thoroughly until it becomes an airy, creamy substance where your whisk will make small traces, when you remove it.

It takes 5-8 minutes. I don't know if you can overdo it, but I think the risk is small

Prepare a bain Marie: bring some water to the boil in a pot and place a bowl (preferably metal) on top of it. The water shouldn't boil like crazy, and it shouldn't touch the bowl - just make it hot. Melt the butter and chocolate, and take it off the heat. Add the flour which you strain before adding it - mix thoroughly.

Melting butter and chocolate in a Bain Marie is really easy.

After melting the chocolate and butter, add the flour. Also easy.
Blend 1/3 of the chocolate/butter/flour into the egg mix - and fold the 2 parts together. Don't be rough, but you don't need to be as gentle as if making a soufflé. When folding things together, fold clockwise while turning the bowl counter clockwise with the other hand. It is much more efficient while gentle at the same time. Add the next third, fold together, and finally the rest.

The batter - ready for putting into the moulds
Put the batter into the moulds and let them rest for at least 20 minutes in the fridge. Preferably longer (which makes this dessert perfect for dinner parties). You can also freeze them. They'll keep for at least a month, and you can bake them directly from the freezer, just adding some extra time, normally 5 minutes.

Ready to cook. I repeat: make 8-10 fondants from this portion instead of just 6. You can actually be too generous, even with a chocolate dessert
Now comes the difficult part (where I also failed): baking. Bake them for 12-16 minutes at 200 degrees (C), depending on the moulds, your oven, the temperature of the batter etc. If you're planning a dinner party, then make a training batch the day before, bake them individually with 1 minute of difference, so you know which one comes out just perfect. Let them rest for 2 minutes before turning them onto plates, where you can finish your presentation.

For this first try - an on a regular Monday night - I used store bought ice cream. Of course in the Danish colours, red and white :-). My fondants were slightly undercooked, so they collapsed, which is not as bad as if they had been overcooked and not gooey enough. I should have baked them 2 minutes longer.
Serve with ice cream and maybe something sour - a raspberry coulis, for instance. Serve immediately.

This is a dessert with a wow factor and it is delicious. Only hard part is knowing exactly how long to bake them, and you can easily experiment with one batch and get it perfectly right. Good luck!