Chocolate Fondants

Chocolate Fondants

Be ready for a long post – these are amazing and I have a lot to say about them! I first made these fondants for a cookery competition 6 years ago, and I’ve been regularly making them ever since. There’s something highly addictive about the taste-texture combination of these little puddings which will have you making them again and again.

They take a little bit of time to master due to the precision needed in the cooking time, and as ovens vary so much you really have to find the perfect time for your particular oven. Cook them for too long and there will be no fondant, too short and there’s no sponge. Instead of using a skewer, like you would for a cake, you have to go on instinct of what the surface texture should look like, in order to know when to take them out the oven.  But apart from the baking bit, they’re really easy to make so I’d recommend giving them a go. Even if they’re under or over baked (and believe me, mine have been both many times) they taste good, so you can’t really lose.

This dessert also looks and sounds impressive, so I’ve found that it works really well as a dinner party dessert. You can make the mixture, and put it into the moulds, up to 48 hours before the party. Chill them in the fridge, then bring them out at least an hour before they go in the oven, to bring them back up to room temperature. This doesn’t affect the quality of the finished dessert and it will give you more time on the day to make everything else. It’s also really easy to make these dairy-free. Simply use soya margarine instead of butter, and make sure the dark chocolate you use has no milk in it. They taste identical to the normal versions, so if you have anyone dairy-free to cook for, instead of making a different or altered dessert for them, you can make these for everyone and no one will notice the difference.

Fondants I made for a dinner party (above)

That said, whilst these are good for parties and for sharing, my favourite time to make them is for a good night in. There’s something truly comforting about a quick-to-make cake which has a soft exterior and then a puddle of velvety sauce in the middle. So, if you’ve been looking for a quick dessert which exudes chocolately gooeyness, and is perfect for a quiet evening, you’ve just found it.

Recipe

Serves 4

Time – 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 100g Unsalted butter
  • 150g Dark chocolate, chopped roughly
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Egg yolks (see below for what to do with the egg whites)
  • 120g Sugar
  • 100g Plain flour
  • A pinch of salt (this really brings out the chocolate flavour)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Grease four small pudding basins with butter and put onto a baking tray.
  2. In a heat-proof bowl put the butter and the chocolate. Place over a pan of gently simmering water and leave to melt, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until pale a fluffy. An electric whisk is quicker and easier, but a hand whisk also works.
  4. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continuously until smooth.
  5. Add the flour and salt to the mixture and whisk again until fully combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the four pudding moulds. At this point you can cover the moulds in cling film and chill in the fridge for up to two days, just make sure they return to room temperature before cooking.
  7. Put the fondants into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. This time works for me, but as all ovens can vary I’d recommend going on the texture rather than a specific time. You want the surface of the fondants to be just skinning over, so that the edges are cooked but the middle is very soft. If anything bring them out a little too early than too late. If they are too liquid when tipped out, you can quickly microwave them for 20 seconds to cook more of the batter.
  8. Take the fondants out of the oven and use a knife to loosen them from the edge of the moulds. Carefully turn them out onto plates and serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

These are really good with…

  • Fruit sorbet (raspberry and mango are particularly good ones to try)
  • Any flavour ice cream
  • Salted caramel sauce
  • Fresh fruit (e.g raspberries or strawberries)
  • Clotted, double or squirty cream
  • Fruit sauce (e.g coulis)
  • Chocolate chips or chocolate decorations

 

How to use up leftover egg whites…

This recipe, like so many others I come across, results in leftover egg whites. You separate the eggs, put the yolks into the batter and are left with two perfectly good, unused whites. They keep in the fridge for up to two days, and can be used for so many things, so rather than throwing them away, here’s some ways of using them up….

  1. Meringues – about 80% of the time I have left over egg whites I turn them into meringues. A simple combo of caster sugar and egg white, meringues are surprisingly simple to make and can be used in so many ways (such as daquoise, pavalova, or meringue kisses – made by pipping the meringue into peaks on a baking tray). If you are going to make meringues though, or any of the following which involve a meringue base (they have a * next to them) it’s better to use the egg whites on the same day as you separate the eggs, as you’ll get a stiffer peak from the mixture, resulting in a better meringue.
  2. Lining pastry – When making pastry brush the whites onto the pastry after taking the beans out for a blind bake. Put the pastry back in the oven for a further 5 minutes after brushing to firm up the base even more. This will act as a barrier between the pastry and the filling, keeping the base crisp.
  3. Marshmallows* – these start off as swiss meringue, and then use gelatin to give that incredible pillowy texture. Like meringues, these can be customised with fruit, nuts and chocolate to make them even more special, and they last for up to two weeks.
  4. They’re still eggs– the eggs may have lost their yolks, but they can still be cooked in the ways you would normally cook an egg. You can fry, scramble or poach the whites as you would  normally.
  5. Mousse* – whilst many mousse recipes require the whole egg, some are egg whites only, and thus can be a good thing to make when left over whites are hanging around. Whilst these don’t technically have a meringue base, it’s still important to use the egg whites fresh, as it will allow more air to be trapped, and so will result in a better mixture.
  6. Icing – egg whites can be used to make royal icing for anything in need of some icing, including Christmas cakes, so if you happen to have one lying around that you need to ice…
  7. Macaroons* – another meringue based delight. Add almonds and a bit of flourish and you’ve got these great little biscuits.
  8. Bread glazes – if you’re into bread making you can use the whites to glaze bagels, buns and loaves. Brush them over with the whites after their second prove, or just before putting them into the oven. If you want a golden crust you’ll be better off using egg yolks, but the whites can still give a beautiful shine.
  9. Cakes – Some cakes, such as angel food cake, use only egg whites, so why not make a lighter-than air cake with some of the leftover egg whites?
  10. Soufflés – These are really fun to make! You can make them in almost any flavours and they taste amazing. They maybe aren’t so great to make on the same day as cooking the fondants, as they’re best with fresh egg whites, and need to be baked and eaten immediately after being made. However, if you’re chilling your fondant mixture for another day, these are great for a decadent dinner dessert.

I hope you enjoyed this post! More coming soon so keep a look out. Any requests, comments or questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Emma x

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