This was the dessert from our dinner party. The chocolate fondant was Gordon Ramsay’s recipe and the vanilla anglaise was from the Joy of Baking.
- 50 g melted butter , for brushing
- cocoa powder , for dusting
- 200 g good-quality dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces
- 200 g butter , in small pieces
- 200 g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs and 4 yolks
- 200 g plain flour
- First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush the melted butter all over the inside of the pudding mould. Place the mould in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with 1 the next mould.
- Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter.
- Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 mins more to the cooking time.
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out.
- Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up.
- Starting from the middle of each plate, squeeze a spiral of caramel sauce - do all the plates you need before you go on to the next stage.
- Sit a fondant in the middle of each plate. Using a large spoon dipped in hot water, scoop a 'quenelle' of ice cream.
- Carefully place the ice cream on top of the fondant, then serve immediately. Repeat with the rest of the fondants.
- 2 cups (480 ml) light cream or half and half (12 - 18% butterfat)
- 1 vanilla bean , split lengthwise (can be found specialty food stores) or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- Have a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl ready near the stove.
- In a stainless steel bowl stir together, using a wooden spoon, the sugar and yolks until well blended. (Do not let this mixture sit too long or a film will develop on the yolks.)
- In a small saucepan heat the cream and vanilla bean (if using) just to the boiling point. Remove from heat and whisk a few tablespoons of the cream into the yolk mixture. Then, gradually add the remaining cream, whisking constantly.
- Pour this mixture into a medium sized saucepan and, over medium heat, gently heat the mixture to just below the boiling point (170 - 175 degrees F) (77 - 80 degrees C). You will notice that steam will begin to appear and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle. Check to see if it is the right consistency by holding a wooden spoon sideways that is covered with the custard and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If the streak remains without the cream running down through the streak, it is ready.
- Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the strainer, scraping up any thickened cream that settles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Stir until seeds separate.
- For maximum flavor, return the pod to the sauce until serving time. (If you are using pure vanilla extract, instead of the vanilla bean, add it to the cream now.) The creme anglaise can be refrigerated covered with plastic wrap for a couple of days. Note: If sauce was overheated and curdling occurs, pour instantly into a blender and process until smooth before straining. If necessary, add a little heavy cream to the mixture before blending.
- Makes about 2 cups (480 ml). Preparation time 20 minutes.