We’ve been loving the amazing warm weather this spring and spent lots of time out and about with friends on the beach or on the bikes – but we’ve also had quite a few friends round for dinner. I’m loving testing out the new flat and kitchen on everyone and we’ve had a few tasty meals along the way. But this salted caramel-filled chocolate fondant was easily my favourite dish so far. Who can say no to oozing caramel with that subtle salty twist surrounded by a gooey chocolate cake??? Not me. And not you either once you see how easy it was to make!
In case you’re wondering what we’ve been serving to all these lovely friends, I’ve been trying to keep the seasonal vibe going, so this weekend we had some asparagus risotto with crumble for dessert – the year’s first harvest of rhubarb with some pears and apples. We had these awesome lil fondants a few weeks ago after an adapted version of this Moroccan vegetarian pie with a roasted cauliflower salad on the side. The fondants were inspired by a bit of leftover dulce de leche from a meal the week before when we managed a vegetarian Argentine meal with veggie empanadas, chimichurri roast potatoes, salad and dulce de leche cheesecake for dessert. Yum.
Anyway, on to the recipe! Dulce de leche is a staple food in Argentina but this ready-made caramel is now available in many shops in the UK too. You can of course make caramel yourself as in Raymond Blanc’s recipe below but using dulce de leche is so much easier and just as tasty. If you can’t find dulce de leche, just boil a can of condensed milk in water for 2-3 hours to make it yourself. I’ve noticed salted caramel popping up everywhere recently and I love the combination of sweet and salty. So making it with dulce de leche seems like the perfect way to bring this restaurant taste into your living room with minimal effort!
Salted caramel filled chocolate fondants
Makes 4 fondants in 3.5″/9cm ramekins
For the caramel filling (adapted from Raymond Blanc)
- 100-150g (about a third of a 400g can) of dulce de leche
- good quality sea salt to taste
- Add the salt to the caramel to taste – be sure to grind the salt if it’s in large flakes as otherwise it won’t mix well and you may get saltier patches in the caramel.
- Pour the caramel into an ice-cube tray and place in the freezer for at least an hour. The caramel won’t freeze solid but it will become easier to work with.
For the fondants (adapted from Gordon Ramsay)
- 100g dark/plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
- 100g unsalted butter
- 2 yolks and 2 whole eggs
- 120g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g plain flour
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl placed over a small pan of boiling water. Stir until fully melted, then set aside to cool.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar for a few minutes until slightly paler and thickened. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
- Pour the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the eggs and stir to combine. Then add the flour and stir again.
- Pour the mixture into four buttered 3.5″/9cm ramekins. Don’t fill all the way to the top as you need to leave room for the caramel. If you have a bit of extra batter, set aside as you may want to add a tiny bit more once you’ve added the caramel.
- Take the caramel in the ice cube trays from the freezer. Using a small spoon, spoon out one ice-cube’s worth of caramel and submerge into the centre of the chocolate mixture in the ramekin. Do the same for each fondant.
- Place the ramekins in the fridge until ready to serve. (these are great to make in advance for a dinner party or even the day before!)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C and cook the fondants for 10-20 minutes. Every oven is different and the timing is crucial for these so feel free to keep checking on them – you want them to have just stopped wobbling if you shake slightly so the outside is cooked but the inside is still nicely runny.
- Serve with cream, ice cream or whatever you fancy, but do it quickly because these won’t last long…