Friday, 22 February 2013

Chocolate Fondants

It’s official, the way to everyone’s heart is through chocolate. So if you would like to woo your partner, or if you are planning a night in with friends and family and you would like to wow your fellow dinners this February, then try out this wonderful recipe for chocolate fondants.

One of the joys of this chocolate pudding is that it can be made in advance. The mixture can be made, put into ramekins and left in the fridge the night before you want to bake them. You can even freeze the mixture for up to a month and cook the individual puddings from frozen. It is quite simply easy to put together. The trick is not to over cook them so that the chocolate sauce oozes out like a gurgling chocolate volcano when you cut into the fondant. It is a real chocolate feast that is great served with a caramel sauce and ice cream. It will not disappoint, I promise!

Makes 9 fondants

50g melted butter, for brushing
cocoa powder, for dusting
200g good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa content), chopped into small pieces
200g butter, cubed into small pieces
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs and 4 egg yolks
200g plain flour

For the caramel sauce:-
250g caster sugar
4 tbsp water
142ml pot double cream
50g butter

1.     First make the caramel sauce. Tip the sugar into a heavy-based frying pan, stir in 4 tbsp water, then place over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until you have caramel. Take off the heat, and carefully stir in the cream and butter. Leave the sauce to cool, and tip into a squeezy bottle.
2.     Next, prepare your ramekin or dariole moulds by brushing the insides with the melted butter. Place the moulds in the fridge for 10 minutes. Brush more butter over the chilled butter, add a spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip and tap the mould so that it becomes completely coated with the cocoa powder. Tap any excess out onto a plate. Repeat this process with all nine moulds.
3.     Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Put the chocolate and butter into the bowl and gently melt stirring the butter and chocolate together until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
4.     In a separate bowl use an electric whisk to beat the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail (what is technically known as the ribbon stage). Sift the four into the eggs and then beat together.
5.     Pour the melted chocolate in to the egg mixture in thirds, beating well before each addition. The mixture should be completely combined and like a loose cake batter.
6.     Tip the fondant mixture into a jug, then divide the mixure evenly between the nine moulds. Chill the ramekins with the mixture for at least 20 minutes before baking (or you can make up the ramekins the night before you want to bake them). At this point you can also freeze the fondants for up to one month. To bake from frozen, simply add on an extra five minutes to the stated cooking time.
7.     Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C or gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of the moulds (15-17 minutes if cooking from frozen). Remove from the oven and allow the fondants to rest for 1 minute before turning them out.
8.     Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so that they come away form the sides of the moulds and ease them out. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so that you know that they will come out then put them back into the mould so that you can serve them.
9.     If you are using a caramel sauce, add some swirls on to the centre of the plates then place a fondant into the middle of each plate. Serve with some good vanilla ice cream.

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