There I was, quiet Saturday evening. PJs, lemonade, and Iron Chef Sakai cookin up a storm on the tele. When, with a cheeky grin and a glint in the eye, Bean and Rocket, well, rock up to sniff out some dessert. "You know what we haven't had in a while," says Bean, picking her words carefully, "chocolate fondant." Rocket looks up, interested. "Chocolate what?" he asks. And with that, I'm already rummaging around for some ramekins, hazelnut meal and chocolate. "I hope you're hungry..." says Bean, sweet success gleaming in her eyes. 5. Ladle the batter into the pre-prepared ramekins.
I first made this following a dreamy trip to Ucello at the Ivy complex, where, after eating our weight in pasta and cheese, we were served a gooey, piping hot chocolate fondant. "The chocolate has won 9 awards" said the waiter, in his gooey, dreamy Italian. "Mmmmmmm" said we, as our brains (and surroundings) melded into a rich chocolately goo.
I've adapted this recipe from Marie Claire's 2008 calendar. It hasn't won 9 awards, but not everyone can have Massimo Bianchi sitting in their kitchen for emergencies such as this.
chocolate & hazelnut fondant
175g dark chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better the outcome)
1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or essence if that's your style)
1/4 C plain flour
50g hazelnut meal
1. Preheat your oven to 200C. Fan forced please. If not, up it to 220C.
2. Grab four 1 Cup ramekins from your shelf. Butter liberally. Grab some plain flour and nudge it around the base and edges. Put the ramekins on a baking tray for ease of transferring to and from the oven.
3. Melt the butter. Toss it in a big bowl with the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until gooey and chocolatey. (Stick your finger in and try some. Good huh?)
4. Fold in the flour & hazelnut meal. (Don't try it here. Uncooked flour is not yummy. At all.) It should look like this.
uncooked batter - ready for ladling
6. Pop in the oven for 15 mins. Serve with creamy custard and slices of banana. Or with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream... and a tablespoon of cognac.
5. Ladle the batter into the pre-prepared ramekins.