Valentine's Dessert: Chocolate Fondants

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Valentine's Dessert: Chocolate Fondants

Styling by Jess Mcintosh, Photography by Will Richards

Our famous fondants. Luxurious, gooey goodness to be prepared ahead and whipped out to complete your delectable three course affair. For a touch of seasonality, illuminate your plate with a couple of blood orange segments. Keep it classic or choose to experiment with different flavours and surprise inserts to make it a fabulous finale to remember.

Sneaky tip: It is ideal to always have a spare fondant, especially the first time you make them. All oven temperatures vary and a spare allows you to test the cooking time in your oven so you can achieve the perfect bake and gooey centre.

The fondants can be prepared a day ahead and chilled until ready to bake. They can also be frozen and baked straight from the freezer adding 30 secs - 1 minute extra baking time.


Valentine's starter (Endive, Pear, Goats Cheese and Pecan Salad)
Valentine's main course (Pork Cheek Pappardelle)

Ingredients

Makes 3 - 4 fondants

Lining the darioles/small ramekins:
15g melted butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Fondants
65g unsalted butter
130g 70% good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped/pieces
2 eggs
45g caster sugar
2 blood oranges (optional)
25g plain flour
2 ½ tsp cocoa powder
Pinch flaked sea salt

Centre surprises (optional)
2 raspberries / other berries (cherries need de-stoning and halving) per fondant (gives a nice moist centre and cut through to the chocolate)
1 Lindt chocolate ball per fondant (gives an indulgent and guaranteed gooey centre)
1 tsp (per fondant) salted caramel sauce, freeze each tsp in section of an ice tray 2 hours prior before using

To serve
Crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream

Instructions

  1. Brush the dariole moulds (or small ramekins) with melted butter, spoon in the cocoa powder and keep twisting the dariole until it is evenly coated. Tap the dariole and tip out excess cocoa into a bowl, repeat with the other darioles. Put the dariole moulds onto a tray and set aside in the fridge.
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. (This can also be done in the microwave – be careful not to burn the chocolate by heating in 20 second bursts). Stir occasionally until fully melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and using an electric hand beater (or hand whisk), whisk for 5-8 minutes approximately or until pale and thick (when lifting the beaters a trail is left on top of the mixture without immediately vanishing).
  4. Pour in the cooled (room temperature to lightly warm), chocolate mixture folding until mostly combined and marbled in colour.
  5. If using, finely zest the blood oranges over the mixture, set aside the blood oranges for later.
  6. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the egg mixture, add the salt and fold together using a spatula until you have a smooth even batter. Take care not to over mix.
  7. Carefully divide the batter among the prepared moulds. If using a 'centre surprise', half fill the dariole then add the 'centre surprise', and then cover with the remaining batter until the darioles or ramekins are 2 thirds full.
  8. If using the blood oranges, segment the fruit and set aside in the fridge to serve with the fondants. (See instructions footnote for our guide to segmenting.)

To bake

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (170C fan).
  2. Place the fondants on a tray, spaced out. Place in the preheated oven on a shelf in the top 1/3.
  3. Bake for 8-9 minutes depending on your oven. The fondant needs to be set, lightly springy on top (not as firm as a cake) and able to be turned out without collapsing, but still have the loose gooey centre.
  4. If you have made a spare fondant, you can test the baking times with this one first.

To serve

  1. Remove from the oven and use a blunt knife to loosen around the top edge of each dariole. Invert the fondants onto serving plates. Add the blood orange segments on the side if using. Serve immediately with a dollop of crème fraîche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For notes on segmenting citrus fruit, see our step by step guide here.

Author: Jane Montgomery

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