This past Saturday we decided to have some fun, and made dessert after the boys had gone to bed (it’s amazing what passes for “fun” these days! We must be getting old!) I had a recipe for chocolate fondants that I got from an episode of “Take Home Chef” last year. I’d tried them once before, but they stubbornly stuck to the custard cups they were baked in, and we had to scoop them out with a spoon. This time we vowed things would be different, but in the end it turned out to be yet another experiment. But that’s OK because I am still a chemist at heart. 😉
This is what they looked like just out of the oven. They look like regular cupcakes, but they are supposed to have a delicously liquidy molten chocolate center. We learned a few things about chocolate fondants:
1. Butter the cups thoroughly so they don’t stick.
2. Use good quality chocolate.
3. The baking time is crucial to the success of the fondants. Mark also thinks that having baking cups with straight sides (like souffle cups) would work better because they cook more uniformly.
4. If you are making these for company, make enough so that if you ruin some it’s not a big deal. I thought they were kind of difficult. They looked so easy on TV, but then again, I’m no chef!
Here is fondant #1 which came out of the oven after around 8 minutes. It completely collapsed into a semi-liquid heap on the plate, but tasted quite good with the ice cream. And why not? It turned out to be little more than hot fudge sauce with a tiny crust of cake on top.
Here is fondant #4 which we left for about 15 minutes. I don’t recommend this – it was a glorified cupcake with no gooey center. Too much work for such a lousy result!
Here is fondant #2 I think, which was the best of the lot. I think it came out after about 10 or 11 minutes. I still think the cake:goo ratio is off a little bit (I would like more goo) but it wasn’t bad.
We ate 3 out of the 4 fondants that night. I won’t even think about the calorie count. I suppose it’s not too bad if we only make these once or twice a year. Gordon Ramsay also had chocolate fondants on one of his “F Word” episodes – maybe we’ll try his recipe next and see if it works better.
Click for the “Take Home Chef” version:
Serves 6 (8 using our cups. We made half this amount on Saturday. We didn’t make the sauce since we thought the fondants were quite rich on their own.)
For the fondants:
1 tbsp plus 2 sticks unsalted butter
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
8 oz. dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
4 large free-range eggs
4 large free-range yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour, sifted
For the sauce:
1 cup whipping cream
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat six 3-inch-deep molds or six 3/4 cup custard cups with butter. Dust molds with cocoa powder, rolling each mold aaround to cover the sides and bottoms well. Tap out any excess cocoa. Stir the chocolate and remaining 2 sticks butter in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until pale and doubled in volume; approx 3-5 minutes. Fold in melted chocolate mixture. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Pour into prepared molds, dividing equally. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly puffed and just set around the edges. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with batter attached. Let rest for 3-4 minutes.
For the sauce, bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Turn off heat and add chocolate. Stir constantly until melted and smooth.
To serve: place a plate over each fondant. Holding plate and mold together, invert the fondants onto the plates, giving a sharp little shake to loosen. The fondants will slide out onto the plates. Spoon chocolate saue over fondants and serve with vanilla ice cream.