Chocolate fondant. Molten lava cake. The dessert worth waiting for and saving your calorie quotient for the entire week. As complicated as it may appear, don’t be fooled – this little decadent dessert is actually deceptively simple to make. Timing, is key, but once you’ve mastered that I can assure you that in no time you would be whipping up batches of these hot chocolate puddings to impress your guests. The fondant has surely taken centre stage in the arena of desserts, being a firm favourite with dinner party hosts and Valentine’s day diners around the world, hoping to impress their guests with a tried and tested formula of seductive chocolate indulgence. Even Gordan Ramsay claims that the fondant is his best selling dessert in his restaurants! As for the origins of this pure decadent indulgence, who would have thought that this classic of French cuisine was only discovered thirty years ago, when triple Michelin starred chef Michel Bras created a dessert with a frozen chocolate ganache centre. His application for a patent on this molten-middled cake never came through – as evident from the dish’s appearance on menus in all corners of the world. Bad news for Bras, but brilliant for the millions of chocolate lovers everywhere who might otherwise never have tasted the beauty and richness of this simple little cake.
INGREDIENTS (4 servings):
- 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing ramekins
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup golden granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 8 ounces (~175g) bittersweet chocolate, melted
- Icing sugar, for dusting
1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Butter 4 ramekins/pudding moulds/muffin tins. 2) Melt the chocolate using the double boiler method, gently stirring until everything is dissolved to a smooth consistency. Set aside to cool to room temperature (Disclaimer: These aren’t my pair of hands – yes, that’s right folks, I don’t have “man hands”). 3) Melt butter using the same method (or microwave) and let it cool to a moderate room temperature. Pour the butter and stir in the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add the pinch of salt. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon or spatula. 4) Next, stir in the flour until just combined. The mixture should thicken at this stage. 5) Crack the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, stirring after each addition until you get a smooth consistency. 6) Divide batter evenly among the prepared buttered ramekins. 7) Place on tray and shove into the preheated oven for 10-11 minutes. (NB: once you’ve made them a couple of times you’ll know exactly how ‘molten’ you like them so can adjust timing accordingly for a more molten or firmer lava cake). 8) Remove from oven and let stand for a couple of minutes. To serve, turn out the cakes onto serving plates bottom side up, and dust with icing sugar. Accompany with mixed berries and a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. Voila! Sinful indulgence.