There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
– Henry Wandsworth Longfellow
Longfellow’s description of the little girl and her curl also reminds me of chocolate fondants. A tricky, temperamental creation that can be glorious or utterly horrendous. This is my favourite chocolate dessert and certainly is hard work to pull off, getting the gooey, rich, decadent centre just right, not too soft, firm on top but not overcooked, not too sweet and not too bitter. This recipe from Derry Clarke, owner of Dublin’s Michelin star restaurant l’Ecrivain is a stunning dessert and paired with the boozy Rum and crunchy pecan ice-cream a total knockout for any dinner party.
Very good, indeed.
1 lb dark chocolate
½ lb butter
½ cup cream flour
1 cup sugar
Ice cream ingredients:
50g of ground pecans
50ml dark rum
4 egg yolks
250ml double cream
100g castor sugar
1 vanilla pod – halved and scraped out
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl on top of a pot of shimmering water, making sure that the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk eggs, sugar and flour until light, then combine with the chocolate mixture. Rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Butter 4 x small oven-proof ramekins and pour in chocolate mixture until ¾ high. Bake for 8-10 minutes until firm on top, and soft in the centre.
Be careful not to overcook, as you want a nice liquid centre
For the ice- cream:
Heat the milk into a heavy-based sauce pan and slowly bring up to boiling point but not letting it boil. Pour in the rum and place the vanilla pod into the milk, let it infuse for about 20 minutes.
In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick. Carefully remove the vanilla pod from the milk, leaving the seeds. Pour the wet mixture in with the eggs and sugar, stirring together. Pour the mixture back into the pot and carefully heat until it thickens. Again, the mixture should not boil as this may cause it to curdle. The mixture is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. Leave to cool before adding the cream and pecans then pour into an ice cream maker.
Turn the fondant out of the ramekin onto a plate, serve with a generous scoop of ice-cream and garnish with a cherry or your choice of fruit or nuts.