Chocolate fondant is neither cake nor mousse, something in the middle featuring a hot and intense flavour, a melting soft centre and perfect flavour combo.
Whether seaweed can be used in desserts seems to be a question that is on everybody's mind. Strong, 'fishy’ taste, association with Asian cuisine or seafood only ingredient are common misconceptions about seaweed. Both the seaweed jelly (agar or carrageenan) or the leaves can be really interesting ingredients in desserts. Rehydrated in a 'sweet' liquid (juice or fruit tea) seaweeds can be used in cakes, fruit salads or as crystallised or confit garnishes. This chocolate fondant will definitely change your thinking about seaweed in desserts!
The idea for the recipe below is inspired by Prannie Rhatigan's Irish Seaweed Kitchen cookbook. Mine includes crystallised ginger and uses a different base recipe for the chocolate fondant. The idea of a pudding coming out of the oven oozing the creamy and intense flavour of dark chocolate is pretty appealing, especially on a cool rainy night. Chocolate fondant is a sumptuous dessert when served with a scoop of ice cream or fresh strawberries & cream.
Fondant is neither a cake or a mousse but something in the middle. It's a pudding with a hot and intense flavour, a melting soft centre that has to be cooked just right to get the proper effect. The recipe that follows is pretty full proof but getting it right depends also on the size of the eggs, your oven, and the moulds you will use. I have used Dario moulds, which are small cylindrical metal or plastic containers with slightly sloping sides used for cooking puddings. You may also use ramekins if you have them on hand but the cooking time may have to be adjusted. The pudding has to be cooked enough so it doesn't collapse, but not overcooked otherwise the centre is no longer runny.
(makes 4 perfect small fondants)
60g unsalted butter, plus extra to coat the fondant moulds (a vegetarian spread will also work)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbsp Karengo flakes
20g crystalized ginger, grated
1 egg (size 7) and one egg yolk
50g caster sugar (or vanilla sugar for extra flavour)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp plain flour (a gluten-free flour mix for cakes will also work)
Note: these pudding will not wait around once cooked, but you can prepare everything ahead, even fill the moulds, and cook them when you are absolutely ready 🙂
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C and put a baking tray on the middle shelf. Butter the inside of 4 ovenproof Dario moulds (or ramekins), and coat with the cocoa.
Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water; make sure the bowl doesn't touch the boiling water. Stir occasionally until melted. Allow to cool slightly. Add the karengo & the grated ginger and combine.
Whisk together the egg and the yolk, sugar and a pinch of salt until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate & butter mixture and then fold in the flour. Spoon into the prepared moulds, stopping just shy of the top.
Put the moulds on to the hot baking tray and cook for 12 minutes, until the tops are set and coming away from the sides of the moulds. Leave to rest for 30 seconds and then serve turn out on to plates, with thickened cream or plain ice cream and fresh strawberries.
Chef's tips: There are many other lovely sweet concoctions that can be made using various seaweeds....re-hydrating seaweed in something sweet like a juice, tea or even liqueur, impart to them a flavour (and sometimes a colour) that is perfect for dessert. Stay tuned, more sweet recipes are coming 🙂