This is a decadent dessert that is tricky to get right, as you want the outer layer to be light and soft, yet deliciously gooey on the inside. Once you succeed however, you will never want to stop cooking them and your friends won’t want to stop eating them.
These are perfect for a dinner party dessert as you can prepare them well in advance, then pop them into the oven for 8 minutes to finish, and everyone will believe you’re a god/dess in the kitchen.
Chocolate fondants with salted caramel and chocolate sauce
For the salted caramel:
- 15g/½oz dark muscovado sugar
- 200ml/7fl oz whipping or double cream
- 20g/¾oz glucose
- 60g/2¼oz caster sugar
- lemon juice, to taste
- pinch salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the chocolate fondant:
- 15g/½ oz cocoa powder
- 15g/½ oz caster sugar
- 80g/2¾ oz good-quality dark chocolate, minimum 60 per cent cocoa solids, roughly chopped
- 80g/2¾ oz butter, plus extra for greasing
- 2 free-range eggs
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- 45g/1½ oz icing sugar
- 18g/¼-½ oz arrowroot
For the chocolate sauce:
90ml/3¼ fl oz full-fat milk
130g/4½ oz good quality dark chocolate, minimum 80 per cent cocoa solids, roughly chopped
- icing sugar, to dust
- 2-3 tbsp caramelised almonds and pistachios, roughly chopped
- 4 quenelles ready-made pistachio ice cream
- For the salted caramel, place the dark muscavado sugar and cream in a saucepan. Using thoroughly wet hands, add the glucose to the sugar and cream mixture and bring the mixture to the boil. (NB: Glucose sticks to dry hands and spoons.)
- Meanwhile, heat the caster sugar in a pan over a low heat, stirring continuously until golden-brown and caramelised.
- Carefully, pour the hot cream and glucose mixture over the caramelised sugar (the mixture may splutter) and return the mixture to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the caramel mixture has thickened and darkened and the temperature reaches 102C. (NB: Use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the caramel.)
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in the lemon juice and salt. Season, to taste, with freshly ground black pepper and stir gently once more. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Pour the caramel into small silicone moulds or ice cube trays. When the caramel has completely cooled, freeze it for at least 2 hours, or until set. (NB: You will not need all of the caramel for this recipe. The remaining caramel can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.)
- For the chocolate fondant, grease the insides of 4 ring moulds, 5cm/2in diameter and 6cm/2½in deep, with softened butter.
- In a bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and caster sugar until well combined. Dust the inside of the ring moulds with the mixture, shaking off any excess. Place the prepared ring moulds onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie, which is a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water).
- Meanwhile, place the eggs and egg yolk into a bowl and whisk together until pale and fluffy.
- Sift the icing sugar into the whisked eggs, whisking until well combined. Next, sift in the arrowroot and whisk until the mixture is pale, thick, has doubled in volume and the beaters leave a trail on the surface of the mixture when lifted. (NB: This is called the ribbon stage.)
- Whisk the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until well combined.
- Using a ladle, fill each of the prepared ring moulds with the chocolate fondant mixture until they are three-quarters full.
- Add one piece of frozen caramel to the centre of each ring mould and press down so that it is nestled halfway down the mould. Gently push the chocolate fondant mixture over the caramel to cover it completely. Chill the chocolate fondants in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- When the chocolate fondants have chilled, preheat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6.
- Transfer the chilled chocolate fondants to the oven and bake for 5 minutes, or until the tops have just formed a crust. Remove the fondants from the oven and allow to cool.
- When the fondants have cooled, run a butter knife around the insides of each mould to loosen the fondants. Carefully remove the moulds. Chill the fondants in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, for the chocolate sauce, heat the milk in a pan until just simmering. Add the chocolate and whisk well until smooth and well combined, then remove from the heat.
To serve the fondants:
- When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4 and bake the fondants for 8 minutes, or until the cakes have risen. Cover the fondants in the chocolate sauce, and dust with icing sugar. Serve with the quenelles of pistachio ice cream and caramelised nuts.
I served my fondants with a special helping of caramel “caviar”, which despite the title, aren’t related to the fishy type, but are small spheres of yummy caramel sauces which delightfully ‘pop!’ in your mouth. Enjoy!
- If you don’t fancy having a salted caramel centre, or if your simply running out of time, replace the caramel with a small chunk of dark chocolate. Green and Black’s is my favourite.
- Don’t be tempted to cut corners, the fondants really do need to have chilling time in the fridge or you’ll just end up with mini chocolate cakes.
This recipe is inspired by Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets series.