As I mentioned in my “Birthday Part I” post, I decided to make the main course relatively low-fat and forego the cream in the potato bake. Now for someone who has in the past come out strongly in favour of her right to eat high-fat foods, this may seem to be an extraordinary thing to do. But wait – there’s method to my madness! I had decided to save the scary levels of fat and cholesterol for the dessert course! Hurrah!! All good things come to those who wait 😉
Now I have had a yearning to make chocolate fondant puddings for ages. They always fascinate me, looking so innocuous and slightly squashy from the outside, but then you take a spoonful and they reveal their innermost secret – a river of chocolate! What bliss. This desire to make them was further enhanced by my friend Paul having one on a dinner cruise on our visit to Dubai last year (yes, I know, you never heard about that meal because the trip remains largely under the heading of “yet to be blogged…”) while I looked on enviously, and then heightened to a fever pitch by the extraordinary chocolate fondant I had at The Fat Duck, served with harissa ice cream (I kid you not). So when it came to deciding what to make for dessert, the obvious choice was chocolate fondants!!
I looked at a few recipes, all of which were broadly similar and boiled down to this maxim: you have to have a lot more chocolate, butter and egg than flour in order to make that imbrobably liquid centre! So below is the recipe I used (by Mike Robinson on the BBC site). I doubled the quantities as we were potantially going to be 7 people (as it turns out we were only 6), and filled 7 ramekins generously. If yuo look at the ingredients, this means that each little pudding contained… almost two eggs!! And that’s before we get onto the 300g of butter and 300g of chocolate. OMG, I think I’m in heaven. But spare a thought for the little lost tablespoon of flour cowering in there somewhere… 😉
With the puddings, the recipe suggested cream, but I had visions of guests falling over dead from clogged arteries at the table, so I decided to make raspberry coulis instead. Very easy – one punnet of raspberries, about 2Tbsp of sugar and a little water. Heat them together in a small saucepan till the boiling water starts to make the berries disintegrate. Mash them with a fork (or you could puree them in a food processor) and strain if you want a really smooth, seed-free sauce. I didn’t bother. The tart sauce makes a great foil for the puddings. Not harissa ice cream, but a close second 😉
INDIVIDUAL CHOCOLATE FONDANT PUDDINGS
85g/3oz caster sugar
150g/6oz butter, chopped, plus extra for greasing
150g/6oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
3 free-range egg yolks
3 whole free-range eggs
1 tbsp plain flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease 4 small ramekins. Be generous with the grease, otherwise the little suckers won’t come out!
2. Place the sugar, butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
3. Simmer very gently until the butter and chocolate have melted, then remove from the heat.
4. Whisk together until combined.
5. Add the egg yolks and whole eggs and beat well.
6. Fold in the flour.
7. Pour into the ramekins or pudding basins and place in the fridge to chill for at least 20-25 minutes.
8. Remove from the fridge and place onto a baking tray. Put straight into the oven and cook for 8-9 minutes.
9. Allow to rest for a minute or two, then turn out onto individual serving plates. Can be tricky – my first one looked like a chocolate truck had collided with a crowd of chocolate pedestrians.
**Forthcoming attractions – Birthday Part III – The Fat Duck**