Homemade Dark Chocolate and Basil Fondants: Sponge Pudding with Fragrant Basil and White Chocolate Sauce Recipe

Chocolate fondants must be the ultimate in indulgent chocolate desserts: warm sponge puddings that break open to reveal a rich chocolate sauce that should melt in your mouth. Cookery writer Paul A Young says that he made his first chocolate fondant while he was head pastry chef for Marco Pierre White, and the moment he tasted it he knew it was going to become a classic dessert. These days, every major food retailer sells their own ready-to-heat chocolate dessert with a gooey centre. However, there’s nothing like homemade fondants. The fondant has a filling of creamy white chocolate infused with flecks of fragrant basil, which add a sophisticated Italian touch. The colour and flavour contrast makes this a perfect dinner-party dessert.

Hot Chocolate and Basil Fondants – Recipe

Ingredients – Makes 4 Fondants

For the White Chocolate Filling:

  • 100ml double cream
  • 15g basil leaves
  • 200g white chocolate

For the Fondants:

  • 85g butter
  • 75g Caribbean 66% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 70g plain flour

For the Moulds:

  • 25g butter, melted
  • 25g plain flour, for dusting

Method

  1. You need to start by making the ganache filling, as this must be left to set before it can be used. Bring the cream and basil to a simmer. Remove from the heat and use a hand blender to break the basil leaves into small pieces.
  2. Pour over the white chocolate in a bowl and whisk well. Pour into a plastic container and refrigerate for at least an hour until set. Once set, make teaspoon-sized balls of the ganache and refrigerate until needed.
  3. For the fondants, melt the butter carefully on a low heat, then add the dark chocolate and mix well. Whisk the eggs and sugar together lightly and pour on to the chocolate mixture, whisking well. Add the flour and mix well until smooth.
  4. Prepare 4 dariole moulds or ramekins by brushing each one with melted butter and then dusting with flour. Pour enough chocolate batter into each one so it is one-third full, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the fridge, place a ball of basil ganache in each mould and fill around and over with the remaining chocolate batter. Refrigerate for 1 hour before cooking.
  6. To cook, first preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Place the fondants in the oven on a baking tray and set the timer for 9 minutes. Do not open the oven until the timer rings.
  7. To serve, using a heatproof cloth, carefully invert each fondant on to a serving plate and lift off the mould. Serve immediately with ice cream or cold crème fraîche.

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