Looking for the perfect dessert? Something you can prepare beforehand, even freeze for up to month and which will only take 15 minutes to bake? Well, I recently tried making chocolate fondants for the first time and I reckon I’ve found a dessert that not only takes the stress out of dinner parties but is equally impressive on the plate as in the mouth. If you’re a chocoholic who is a little jaded because of chocolate desserts that promise a decent hit but only deliver sugary flavourless gloop then this recipe will renew your commitment to the humble cocoa bean.
This is actually a Gordon Ramsey recipe and a whole lot easier than you would first think. There are a few steps and it is a little fiddly but what you end up with completely warrants brushing all those ramekins with butter! I made mine a week in advance and wrapped them tightly in cling film before placing them in the freezer. Then all there is left to do is preheat the oven and whack in the frozen fondants for 15 minutes, perform a dance to entertain your guests and serve! I should also tell you that the recipe can be easily halved, so on those quiet nights in…
50g melted butter, for brushing
cocoa powder for dusting
200g good-quality dark chocolate (70–80%), broken up into small pieces
200g caster sugar
4 eggs and 4 yolks
200g plain flour
vanilla ice cream to serve
1. You need to prepare the moulds first. You can use ramekins, dariole moulds or even a muffin tin, but they should be 150ml capacity if you want to make 9 fondants. Using upwards strokes, brush each mould with the melted butter. Place the moulds in the fridge until the layer of butter hardens. Repeat brushing the moulds with melted butter and this time add a large spoonful of cocoa to one mould to coat the inside, tipping the mould to cover completely. Tap any excess cocoa into the next mould and repeat the process. This ‘lining’ of the mould ensures that the fondants will tip out easily on serving.
2. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, being careful so that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Place the butter and chocolate in the bowl and melt together gently. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar with an electric whisk until thick and pale and the mixture makes a trail; this will take about 6–8 minutes so try to be patient. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
4. Combine the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture forms a loose cake batter.
5. Tip the 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.
6. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C. 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 – don’t be tempted to cook the fondants for any longer, otherwise you’ll jeopardise the runny centre. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out. To bake from frozen, simply add 5 mins more to the cooking time.
7. The fondants should easily come out of the moulds. Being careful not to burn yourself, tip them onto the centre of your serving plates.
8. Top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve!