Friday, November 23, 2012

Chocolate fondant

It's been so long since I said something here... I can't tell you how much I missed it. Somehow Christmas hustle started early for me this year and I was to busy and tired to produce any kind of warm and positive content. Now finally I have a lot to say and chocolate fondant will be good to start with. This little chocolate cake which oozes out melting chocolate as you break through its crust with your teaspoon contains highest quality happiness in incredible intensity. Especially if you serve it with a melting scoop of vanilla ice-cream on top. Approaching Christmas is perfect timing for it.

We've been making chocolate fondant very happily at our cooking classes for quite some time before that story happened. I was organizing a private cooking party for a lovely lady's birthday. The whole dinner was French and chocolate fondant was meant for dessert. As it sometimes happens, there was one guy who didn't really feel like cooking from the very beginning of the party. Though it wasn't in any way obligatory he still got involved in the cooking and kept looking skeptical and pessimistic.

Finally we started the dinner. It was fun and the food came out very well. He was still unhappy with every dish though... before he actually did this. He broke his warm chocolate fondant with his teaspoon. The chocolate started melting out and mixing with vanilla ice-cream. He tried it and smiled like a child who just got a Christmas present of his dreams right from Santa Clause's hands. He left happy and full of gratitude. We became friends. And it tends to happen with everyone, no matter where you started.

It's nothing difficult to make by the way. You put together the batter in 15 minutes, fill the tins and stick them in your fridge. When you are 15 minutes ready for dessert, you move them to your oven and that's pretty much it. It is also a great idea to make more batter than you need and freeze some (in the tins but unbaked). You can bake it right from the freezer adding a couple of minutes to your baking time. So you will be just 15 minutes away from a chocolate fondant any time you might need it (you will probably need it quite often once you try).

Cover picture by Maria Serova

Chocolate fondant (recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay)

makes 12

For dusting the tins:
60 g butter, melted
2 table spoons of coco powder, sifted

For the batter:
250 g bitter sweet chocolate (75% of coco), chopped
250 g butter, chopped
250 g white sugar
5 eggs
5 egg yolks
250 g all purpose flour

500 ml vanilla ice-cream or vanilla sauce for serving

You will need twelve individual muffin-sized tins to bake the fondants. I prefer steel or disposable aluminum tins. Ramekins or silicon tins can also be used.

Brush your tins with melted butter, covering the bottom and the sides. Dust the tins with coco, making sure it covers the bottom and the sides. Then invert each tin and hit slightly with your hand to remove excess coco. Place the tins on a baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the batter.

In a medium pan melt 250 g of butter on medium heat. Reduce the heat to very low and add the chopped chocolate. Wait for 20 seconds, then stir for 1-2 minutes, till all the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar till everything combines and gets pale. Do not overbeat. It should remain quite fluid and not get too foamy.

Add the flour into the egg mixture and keep whisking till combined. Pour in the melted chocolate and whisk till combined.

Distribute the batter among the prepared tins (they should get approximately 3/4 full) and move the tins to the fridge for at least 20 minutes (for baking the same day) or to the freezer (for baking later).

Fondant should be served withing 10 minutes after baking (otherwise it won't be liquid inside any more). When you are 15 minutes ready to have dessert, place the fondants in a 200C oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes. To check the readiness take one out of the oven and touch the top - it should be set. Then insert a toothpick right between the tin and the edge of the fondant. It should come out dry with a bit of coco powder (no uncooked batter) on it.

Take the fondants out of the oven and remove from the baking sheet. Let cool for 1 minute and invert each one on a serving dish (if you were using ramekins, you can serve the fondant right in them). Add a scoop of ice-cream or some vanilla sauce on top or on the side and serve immediately.


Vanilla sauce
Spanish churros with hot chocolate
Banana upside down mini cakes (vegan version)
Sticky toffee pudding
Spicy hot cake with sticky toffee sauce
Brownies with dulce de leche
Cinnamon hot chocolate