Circus by Chef Jacques Torres, William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 14 fondants
For the Fondants (makes 14 Fondants)
- 1 c. + 2 1/2 Tbls. unsalted butter, cubed
- 17.7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 Tbls. unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 8 large egg whites
- 1/3 cup Meringue powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the garnish
- scant 1 cup heavy cream, whipped with stiff peaks
- candied orange or grapefruit peels
- Chocolate Sauce (see recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the inside of 14 individual
3-ounce molds (I use disposable aluminum molds) with softened butter.
Fill each mold with granulated sugar; then pour out the excess.
If you have properly buttered the molds, the sugar will stick to
the sides and the bottoms of them. The butter and sugar will keep
the Fondants from sticking to the sides of the molds and allow them
to rise evenly. The sugar will also give the Fondants a crunchy
crust, which I think makes a great contrast to the soft interior.
It will be easier to move the molds in and out of the oven if you
place them on a baking sheet.
Prepare the Fondants: Melt the butter in 2-quart heavy-bottomed
saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat. Add the chopped
chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt and stir until well combined and
all the chocolate has melted. The cocoa powder and salt accentuate
the taste of the chocolate.
Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whip with an electric
mixer on medium speed until foamy. If using the meringue powder,
combine it with the sugar in a small bowl. The meringue powder contains
a high quantity of albumin, which will add strength and allow for
a stiffer meringue. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and
make a French meringue by adding the sugar mixture, or the sugar,
1 tablespoon at a time and whipping the egg whites to stiff but
not dry peaks.
Gently but quickly fold the warm chocolate mixture into the meringue
until combined. Be careful not to deflate the mixture, or your baked
Fondants will be flat and heavy. The mixture should be homogenous
in color. However, if you can still see streaks of meringue in it,
Place the batter in a large pastry bag with a large opening (no
tip). The pastry bag will be easier to handle if you fill it only
half full; you will probably need to refill the bag two or three
times to use all of the batter. Pipe the molds three quarters full
with batter. (At this stage, the molded fondants can be stored in
the freezer for up to 2 weeks, well wrapped in plastic wrap. Thaw
in the refrigerator for 2 hours before baking.) Bake the Fondants
until they have risen about 1/2 inch over the top of the mold, 7
to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with
a star tip and pipe rosettes onto each serving plate. Garnish with
candied orange or grapefruit peels. Remove the Fondants from the
oven and immediately invert each one over the center of a plate.
Lightly tap the bottom and shake slightly to allow the Fondant to
gently drop from the mold. Cover the Fondants with chocolate sauce
and serve. When you cut into the Fondant, the center should still
be somewhat liquid.
Chocolate Sauce (makes 2 2/3 cups)
- 1 generous cup whole milk
- 10.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 generous cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbls. unsalted butter
- 1/4 c. + 2 Tbls. granulated sugar
Pour the milk into a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, place over
medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. When the milk boils, remove
it from the heat and make a ganache by adding the chopped chocolate.
Whisk well, stirring into the edge of the saucepan to combine. The
ganache should be homogenous and smooth. Set the ganache aside.
In a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the heavy cream,
butter, and sugar. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and
bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. The butter should be completely
melted and the sugar completely dissolved. Once the mixture has
come to a boil, pour the cream into the warm ganache.
Place the sauce over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring
constantly with a whisk. As the chocolate sauce cooks, it will begin
to thicken slightly. When it reaches a boil, remove it from the
heat and pour it into a clean, dry bowl. Cover by placing plastic
wrap directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming.
Let the chocolate sauce cool to room temperature before storing
in the refrigerator. When cold, the chocolate sauce will become
thick enough to be scooped with a spoon.
One of the wonderful qualities of this sauce is that it can be
reheated whenever needed. If using a microwave, simply place the
chocolate sauce in a microwaveable bowl and heat it at medium-high
power in 30-second intervals until it becomes liquid. On the stovetop,
place it in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and stir
occasionally until it becomes liquid. If you store it in a squeeze
bottle, you can easily drizzle it over a dessert or decorate a plate.
It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. It can also
be frozen for up to two months if stored in an airtight container,
to be kept on hand for a last-minute dinner party. Thaw in the refrigerator
and heat as described above until liquid.