The lovely Jen over at Blue Kitchen Bakes has entrusted me with hosting the Classic French Challenge this month. The Challenge has seen some pretty tricky themes recently so I figured I’d be kind and go easy on you. Therefore the subject I have chosen for August is:
OK, OK! I know fondants have a reputation for being finicky. As we all know, many a Masterchef contestant has come a cropper with an over/under cooked fondant. (Or FON-DONT if you ascribe to the Gregg Wallace school of pronunciation.)
However, this modern French classic (the fondant was created by legendary French chef Michel Bras in the early 80’s) really is worth mastering. Once perfected they can be knocked up in less than 30 minutes and there are precious few desserts that can elicit the wow factor of a perfectly cooked, gooey-centred chocolate fondant.
The secret to a flawless fondant is all in the timing. The recipe I am sharing with you below has been quadruple tested by me and works perfectly every time in my domestic oven to yield an unbroken spongey exterior and an oozy, unctuous middle. But ovens vary so you may need to adjust the timings by a minute or two. I would definitely recommend a practice run before coming over all Master-cheffy in front of family and friends.
The beauty of a good chocolate fondant recipe is that it can be adapted in so many ways. I made two versions, a wasabi, white chocolate and pistachio fondant and a chocolate and salted caramel one. Whilst there is nothing wrong with a classic plain chocolate fondant, I would love to see how creative you can be. Think about the following when planning your recipes (you can use my recipe or any other fondant recipe you choose):
Flavourings: – you can use different types of flavoured chocolates and/or essences to adapt your fondant. For the wasabi version I used Lindt wasabi infused chocolate and for the salted caramel version I added 1/4 tsp of caramel essence to the mixture.
Coatings: – when making a classic fondant, the moulds tend to be dusted with either cocoa or caster sugar to prevent the pudding sticking. But you can also use ground nuts or even crushed biscuits. I used ground pistachios to coat my wasabi fondant and caster sugar mixed with a pinch of salt for my caramel version.
Fillings: – another optional but nice trick is to pop a soft-centred chocolate into the middle of the fondant as it cooks to create a contrasting filling. I used salted caramel truffles for my caramel fondant and Lindt white chocolate truffles in the wasabi version.
My top tips: 1) whatever fondant recipe you use I would definitely recommend double-greasing the moulds as detailed below (2) be METICULOUS about timing and give them your undivided attention. Cooking fondants at the same time as trying to bathe the kids, feed the dog, watch Eastenders etc. is a recipe for disaster BUT (3) the raw mixture can be made in advance and baked as needed.
Classic French Challenge Rules:
- Please use the logo on your post and tag the post with the label ‘Classic French’ and include a link to this challenge page and to Blue Kitchen Bakes.
- Please add your entries via the linky at the bottom, enter the name of your dish in the name box.
- If you’re on Twitter you can also tweet your links to @BlueKitchenBake and @underthebluegum using the hash tag #ClassicFrench and we will retweet any that we see
- You can enter as many times as you want and you can enter your post into other challenges as long as it fits in with their rules
- You can enter an old post if you want but please update with a link back to my blog and the challenge logo
- Don’t forget that if the recipe you use is from another source i.e. book/magazine/website/blog to credit the original author.
- All entries will be pinned to the Classic French Pinterest board with links back to your post, if you don’t want to be included on the board then please let Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes know
- The challenge will run until 28th August. Deadline has now been extended to 31st August. If the linky is closed, please tweet or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) the link to your entry.
Classic Chocolate Fondant Recipe
- 115g butter plus extra, melted, for greasing the moulds
- 115g dark chocolate (or flavoured chocolate of your choice)
- 2 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 50g plain flour
Optional ingredients: cocoa/caster sugar/ground nuts/crushed biscuits for dusting the moulds; your choice of flavourings/essences for the batter; soft centred chocolates for the filling
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Brush 4 dariole moulds with melted butter. Place in the freezer for a couple of minutes to set the butter, then re-brush with more butter. Dust with your choice of cocoa/caster sugar/ground nuts/crushed biscuits. Ensure there is a nice even layer coating the inside of the mould. Tip out any excess.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bain marie or microwave and set aside to cool slightly. Mix the whole eggs and yolks together lightly – just to combine – then pour in the melted chocolate mix whilst stirring. Add any flavourings/essences at this stage.
3. Stir in the caster sugar and flour until evenly incorporated. Don’t over mix.
4. Spoon the mixture into the dariole moulds until they are about 3/4 full (allow a 1-1.5cm gap at the top).
5. If using a chocolate filling, bake for 5 minutes then remove from the oven. Lightly push a chocolate into the centre of each mould with your finger so it just ‘plops’ under the surface of the mixture. Then bake for a further 8 minutes. If you are not using a chocolate filling just bake for 13 minutes, undisturbed.
6. Remove the fondants from the oven and allow to rest for 1 minute before turning out and serving.
Bonne chance! I do hope you’ll take up the challenge and I can’t wait to see all your fabulous fondants. Please link up your entries below and I’ll post the round up on 1st September.