For me, chocolate fondants are the ultimate dessert and what I’ll go for on a restaurant menu every time.
Rich, gooey and completely decadent these desserts look super impressive but are pretty straightforward to make once you have the hang of them.
I’ve been making fondants based on Felicity Cloake’s recipe (which in turn is based on Michel Roux’s recipe) for well over a year now and very rarely have had any mishaps.
Most of them have been recent, as I adjust to my new oven which seems to be too powerful at times and now powerful enough at others.
Taking things back a step, fondants, also known as chocolate lava cakes, are judged by their oozing centre.
There are two ways to achieve this:
- Creating a cake-like batter and cooking it until it’s solid enough to hold its own weight, but still soft in the middle.
- Creating a flavoured centre by freezing a block of fruit puree or salted caramel, then placing in the centre of your ramekin. It will cook more slowly than your surrounding cake batter resulting in a gooey centre. Donna Hay even adds a block of chocolate or spoonful of peanut butter in the middle of her batter to ensure the soft centre.
There are a few tricks when making a fondant, and the biggest one is knowing your oven really well. The fondants should have formed a crust on top and come away from the sides a bit. If you don’t have this after the estimated cooking time, trust your gut and return them to the oven for a couple of minutes.
The other tip is to prepare your mould well. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of your mould with melted butter, then dust with cocoa powder.
And despite what Felicity says, it’s totally cheating to serve your fondant in the ramekin!!
Chocolate fondants – makes 2
60g unsalted butter, cut into dice, plus extra to grease
1 tbsp cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
60g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C if cooking immediately, and put a baking tray on the middle shelf. Butter the inside of 2 small ramekins or pudding moulds, and then put the cocoa in one and turn it to coat the inside, holding it over the second mould to catch any that escapes. Do the same with the other mould.
- Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Allow to cool slightly.
- Vigorously whisk together the egg, yolk, sugar and a pinch of salt until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate and butter, and then the flour. Spoon into the prepared moulds, stopping just shy of the top – at this point the mixture can be refrigerated until needed, or even frozen, as the puddings will not wait around once cooked.
- Put on to a hot baking tray and cook for 12 minutes (14 if from cold, 16 if frozen) until the tops are set and coming away from the sides of the moulds. Leave to rest for 30 seconds and then serve in the ramekins or turn out on to plates if you’re feeling confident – they’re great with clotted cream or plain ice cream.