I’ve always been the uncooked-batter-eater. One of the little joys of baking is to dip your finger into the luscious chocolate ribbons and licking it. Okay, I don’t have so much finesse. I lick the leftover batter from the bowl, um..spatula too..whisks, spoons…um, everything that has come in contact with the precious chocolate batter, there I said it! Well, it is the unmitigated chocolate batter and I don’t have a Willy Wonka in my town, so this is the closest I can get to my chocolate factory fantasy. Also, chefs always say taste, taste and taste as you go, so I taste.
I may be a little off track here, may be not. Thought process is such a funny thing. There is such a thing as baking your cake without having to bake it completely, so that the center of the cake is still gooey. You get to eat the cake and the batter too! It doesn’t work with every flavour as much as it works with chocolate. It’s the fancy chocolate lava cake that you see on the menu all the time and go nuts about. If you knew what went into it, you would make it yourself and you don’t have to be a baker. Like Raymond says, it is THE easiest dinner party dessert there can be.
I might have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I love the show (Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets)for his theatrics. After serving your guests with a lovely dinner, he asks you to whisk away into the kitchen, not blithely though, he says your guests better notice that you’ve gone into the kitchen to do something. Then, you are back in 5 minutes, with these chocolate treats, and that’s how you wow your guests, he says. And you will always be the legend who brought a warm, gooey chocolate cake in 5 minutes.
For the salted caramel
- 15 g muscavado sugar
- 20 g liquid glucose
- 200 ml fresh cream
- 60 g caster sugar
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
For the chocolate fondant
- 15 g cocoa powder
- 15 g caster sugar
- 80 g dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids and above), chopped
- 80 g unsalted butter
- 2 eggs and 1 yolk
- 45 g confectioner’s sugar
- 18 g corn flour
- In a saucepan, bring muscavado sugar, cream and glucose to the boil. Meanwhile, place the caster sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and leave it on low heat, stirring constantly. Stir until the sugar caramelizes to a deep auburn. Remove the pan instantly.
- Now, pour the hot cream mixture into the caramelized sugar. Careful while you do this because the mixture might rise up rapidly. Simmer the mixture on low heat, until the caramel reaches 102 C. (Use a food thermometer).
- Once the caramel is done, take it off heat. Squeeze lemon juice, add salt and pepper. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.
- For the chocolate fondant, add the chopped chocolate and butter to a bowl and place it over a pan of simmering water. Allow it to melt.
- Mix the cocoa and sugar. Dust the insides of your ramekins with the cocoa-sugar mixture. (I used a 3-inch ramekins). Please on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Beat eggs and egg yolk until pale. Sift the icing sugar in. Continue to beat. Finally, sift the corn flour in. Beat until the mixture leaves a trail of ribbons.
- Now, add the melted chocolate into the eggs mixture. Fold until it is incorporated well. Pour the fondant batter into the ramekins. Spoon over the prepared salted caramel. Make a little swerve, so that the chocolate covers the caramel.
- Refrigerate the ramekins for 30 minutes. You can even refrigerate them upto 24 hrs.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Once chilled, bake the fondants in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, until they form a crust. Once done, cool them.
- Refrigerate them till you want to serve. Before serving, bake them for 8 more minutes at 200 C until they have risen. Run a spatula around the ramekin, tilt it upside down on a plate. As you cut the fondant, the center should ooze out with chocolate-caramel mixture.
note: Raymond freezes the caramel in moulds for couple of hours. You may do that if you wish to.