This is a fantastic recipe to have in your repertoire. It has the reputation of being notoriously difficult so your friends will think you’re a bad-ass in the kitchen, but it is in fact really straight forward. I am a massive MasterChef fan but every time a contestant says they are doing a chocolate fondant the judges give them a look like they are mental and have just said that they are going to prepare the whole meal blindfolded! Then there I am, sitting at home, watching this with enough eye-rolling to induce a bout of vertigo because I know that this recipe would let them sail through to the next round for sure! It does require a lot of washing-up after, which I’ll admit I’ve always found very challenging, but if you make them the day before the special occasion that warrants such a fancy dessert you will have more time to deal with the donkey-work. The most fiddly, tedious step is buttering the ramekins, allowing them to chill in the fridge or freezer, buttering again and sprinkling with cocoa. This is to allow easy release from the ramekins when they are being turned out onto the plate so if you want to side-step this just serve them in the ramekins! You might lose some bad-ass points among your friends but if this bothers you, you’ve just bought yourself an extra 15 minutes of prep time the night before so just knock together a red berry coulis to serve with the fondants-in-ramekins and bad-ass status will be restored.
I realise I may sound boastful or big-headed, but it is all in the recipe! Follow these steps and you’re onto a winner. I’ve made these for so many people now and the looks on their faces when they take that first bite isn’t joy or appreciation – it’s shock! Like they have just discovered some remarkable revelation about me. Like they are thinking “How the hell did you do this without any experience in a professional kitchen!” So I generally meet that with a calm, knowing smile, as if to say “I know. Talent of this level is rarely recognised in it’s own lifetime. I should be making these professionally for some Middle Eastern Sheikh on a money-laundering business trip to Las Vegas. But instead I am here. Unappreciated. Feeding you!” That’s usually how the dialogue plays out in my head, but whatever about interpreting social queues, it always goes down well and can be done by making ahead too! You should make it at least the day before and store it in the fridge or up to a month in the freezer, just add an extra 5 minutes to the cooking times below if cooking from frozen, but try to let thaw for a day first.
- 50 g butter for greasing the ramekins
- 1 or 2 tbsp cocoa for dusting the ramekins
- 200 g good dark chocolate, 70% cocoa at least.
- 200 g butter
- 200 g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 200 g plain flour
- Brush the inside of your ramekins with the melted butter, allow butter to cool in the fridge and butter again. Then dust inside of ramekins with cocoa.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once combined, allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until pale and think.
- Add the flour and beat to combine.
- Add the chocolate butter mixture, a third at a time, mixing each third into the eggs before adding the next third.
- Once it is all incorporated, decant into a jug to pour into ramekins.
- Pour into greased and cocoa-dusted ramekins and bake at 190 degrees Celsius or in a fan oven 180 degrees Celcius for 12 minutes.
- If freezing, bake for an extra minutes or if refridgerating overnight bake for 12 minutes or until the centre of the fondant has almost risen as much as the sides which should take another minute or two.