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Chocolate Fondant
Dessert Circus by Chef Jacques Torres, William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1998
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)

Method:

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, that's okay.

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

Method:

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.



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