Chocolate fondant is one of those pudding that seems to install fears into everyone's mind at the sheer thought of attempting to make it. It is not the easiest pudding to prepare. To achieve a moist outer cake layer with that signature gooey centre relies heavily on military precision timing. And if you are preparing other dishes at the same time, this can sometimes seemed impossible. But let me tell you a secret. It is actually not that hard. If you plan wisely and give yourself ample of time to prep the cake mix in advance, then all that requires is for you to pop these ramekins of chocolate heaven into the oven, timer on and just wait for the alarm to go off. In about no time at all, you be able to served up these beauties to your awaiting dining guests. Be prepare, as the initial gasps and commotion as you walk into the room will soon turn into a sea of silence, followed by the sound of Ooo-ing and Mmm-ing as they cut the fondant open with a spoon, unleashing river of melted chocolate flowing out of the moist, tender cake.
This is the same recipe that I have been using for years and is the absolute foolproof method. The double coating of butter on the ramekins might seems excessive but this really does help to ensure the fondant rises evenly. The dusting of cocoa powder too, ensure that the fondant doesn't stick to the sides. This is also perfect to prep days in advance and then freeze for times when you have a sudden urge for a pudding or when you know you deserve a little treat.
Here, I've served the fondant with my spiced orange sauce which as most will know, orange and chocolate are a perfect match. However, I have also added an unexpected twist to this - Ginger. The zingy ginger works beautifully with the rich fondant. So good, I had two of these in one go and they were delicious. Go on, treat yourself!
For the Spiced orange sauce:
250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
40g caster sugar
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half and turn syrupy, about 30-40 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and set aside. This can be store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
For the Chocolate fondant :
Ingredients (makes 4)
25g melted butter, for bushing the ramekins
cocoa powder, for dusting
100g good quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, chopped into small pieces
100g butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
2 medium free-range eggs plus 2 yolk
Good quality vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche, to serve
Icing sugar, for dusting
Prepare the moulds. Brush the melted butter all over the inside of the ramekins and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to chill. Brush more butter over the now chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the ramekins. Tip the ramekins so that the powder completely coats the butter and pour away any excess cocoa. This help to prevent the fondant from sticking to the side and thereby rise evenly.
Slowly melt the chocolate and the butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, careful not to let the base of the bowl touches the water. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale. To test, the mixture should be thick enough for the whisk to leave a trail or it should coat the back of a spoon. Pour in the now cooled melted chocolate and butter a third at a time and gently fold in with a spatula. Sift in the flour and once again, gently fold the mixture until everything is well combined to form a loose cake batter.
Divide the fondant mixture evenly between the ramekins and chill . The fondant can now be chill for at least 20 minutes until needed, or even frozen for up to a month.
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Place the fondant on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of the ramekins. If cook from frozen, add another 3-4 minutes to the cooking time. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 1 minutes before turning out.
Serves immediately with a dust of icing sugar and some vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche, drizzled with warm spiced orange sauce.