This isn’t about that plastic-like stuff that lines wedding cakes to make them look pretty that’s also named “fondant.”
Chocolate fondant is a dessert that many of you will recognize as molten chocolate cake. The inspiration for this came from Gordon Ramsay from many directions.
During my trip to Gordon Ramsay’s Maze at the London, I first tried the dessert.
Before then, I saw an episode of Ramsay’s show, The F Word, in which he shows an entire staff how to assemble the dessert. I also read a recipe in Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy (a book that is a must for anyone who lives a busy and active lifestyle and wants some simple and quick recipes that are tried and true).
I gave it a shot several months ago, and it was a disaster!
I worked on it, and I have it down. All it takes is six or so common household ingredients and some pretty basic kitchen hardware.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Stainless steel bowl (example) and other bowls
- Electric hand mixer (example)
- A trustworthy scale (example)
- Something to sift the flour (example)
- Ramekins (example)
- 50 g good chocolate (70% cocoa or so, example)
- 50 g unsalted butter (plus a little extra)
- 50-60 g of sugar (taste your chocolate and determine how much it needs)
- 50 g of all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- Cocoa powder
I always start by simmering some water in a pot (Something the steel bowl will fit over) and also by warming the oven so it is 350 °F inside. Then I weigh the chocolate and butter into the bowl…
…and melt it together over the simmering water. Slowly.
While that’s melting (or after), I grease the ramekins by smearing butter all around the inside. Then I dust with cocoa powder (just enough to coat) and tap out any excess. [Be sure to set the chocolate/butter mixture aside to cool for a few minutes.]
Once that’s done, I weigh the flour into the sifter and set that aside.
In a plastic bowl, I combine the egg, egg yolk, and sugar, and I use the electric hand mixer to really get them whipped up together. It takes a few minutes, but the mixture becomes pale and foamy.
I transfer the (now somewhat cool) chocolate and butter mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and lightly combine to incorporate the two.
The flour gets sifted into the mixture in three stages. [I switch to a metal spoon at this point.]
I transfer the mixture into the coated ramekins, about 2/3 the way up in each. [Depending on your ramekins, the mixture may make 2, 3, or 4; always prepare an extra ramekin.]
They bake for exactly 12 minutes.
After removing from the oven and allowing to cool for a minute, you should be able to turn it out onto a plate.
And when you poke at it with the spoon, it should ooze.
I love this technique for many reasons. First, the portion size. Each cake is the perfect size for a quick sweets fix (split into 3 as described above, each comes in just short of 400 calories), and you can refrigerate unbaked cakes for a few days (If you do, allow them to bake an extra minute or two). I’m also a huge fan of the ease of this. While it may seem like a number of steps, the procedure in the kitchen can easily be economized; I’m in and out in 20 minutes from start to finish, including baking and cleanup. The best part of this to me is that it’s made with things that are just laying around. If you keep good chocolate around, then everything is just waiting in your pantry and fridge, and it costs next to nothing to make.
Another great aspect of the technique is that it’s robust. I’ve tried messing up every step. Once, I didn’t fully melt the chocolate into the butter. No impact. Another time, I beat the eggs and sugar a little shy of the sweet spot. It tasted great, oozed nicely, but didn’t puff up as much as it should. Once, I didn’t sift the flour. That just made it a little more difficult to mix together, but the final product was just great.
The only critical parameters are the cooking time and temperature. Cooking for one minute too long or in an oven that’s too hot, and you’ll have a cake-y brownie. Too short or too cold, well, you saw my first attempt above. I’d highly recommend using an oven thermometer to verify your oven’s temperature and even to map it out to avoid hot spots.
I really do hope this is something you try. As someone who enjoys sweets but doesn’t like to bake, it’s really a great recipe and personally rewarding when it turns out.