“You never do desserts.” came the criticism. This was not friendly, constructive comment. It was said through sneering lips. As much as to say “Any fool can roast a leg of lamb or fry a pork chop. But, it takes real talent to cook a dessert.” That got me thinking. No, I don’t do a lot of desserts. That doesn’t mean I can’t. It just means I don’t. But, I could not let the scoffing criticism go. I started looking at puddings and confections.
I saw no point in doing something simple, like a rhubarb fool (been there, done that) or something complex like a baked Alaska. In fact, the last time I saw a baked Alaska it was at a function where the lights were dimmed while the flaming concoction was wheeled into the room. That was a long time ago. No, I set my mind to a Chocolate Fondant with Amerena Cherries. Why? Because it reads very easy but chef friends tell me that it is full of pitfalls. Pitfalls I seem to have avoided. Mine follows Gordon Ramsey’s recipe very closely. He may swear a lot but, he does know what he is doing. Here’s what you will need:
- 240 grammes of butter
- Cocoa powder – As much as is needed to dust moulds
- 200 grammes of high cocoa content dark chocolate
- 200 grammes of caster sugar
- 200 grammes of plain flour
- 4 medium free range eggs
- Yolks of four more eggs
- 8 moulds (like in the picture below).
Melt 40 grammes of the butter. Apply this is upward strokes to the inside of the moulds. Pop them in the fridge for 5 minutes and repeat the process. The upward strokes are to make it easier for the fondant to slip out. In the same way the criticism of my cooking choices entered the conversation.
Dust the moulds with cocoa powder. Set them aside. Take a rolling-pin to the chocolate. Think about your critics as you bash the bejesus out of the bars. (Do this while the chocolate is still in its wrapper.)
Put the chocolate and the remaining 200 grammes of the butter (cut into pieces) into a bowl and put this over hot water in a saucepan to melt them together gently.
Don’t rush this bit. It’s too much fun making the delicious sauce.
Take the bowl off the heat and let the sauce rest for about 10 minutes. Get the eggs into a mixer.
Add the sugar and beat until this makes a soft creamy mixture. Slowly sift the flour into this mixture, beating as you go. When this is all combined, slowly pour in the chocolate sauce, beating as you go.
You will end up with a thick, airy, chocolatey mixture.
Transfer to a jug and pour into the moulds. this will take some time as it is gloopy.
You will be left with eight pots of heavenly chocolate mixture.
Pop them into the fridge for a couple of hours. Heat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes. There really is no way around this, watch them. When they rise a bit, have a nice crust on top and are coming away from the edges, take them out. Let them rest for a minute or so. Turn each one out into your hand and place on a plate. Spoon around the cherries (an Italian supermarket product) and apply a quenelle of ice cream. Serve while still warm.
The sneering critic can scoff all they like (literally but not literally, if you know what I mean). Their mocking attitude has forced me to add another beauty to my derisory collection of desserts. There’s nothing meagre about this delicious fondant.
Footnote: I froze four of these and cooked them from frozen a few days later. They were excellent.They will keep for a month or so and need to have about 5 minutes added to the cooking time when done from frozen.