Last orders on our fabulous Bake Off treats
RICHARD’S BLACK FOREST CHOCOLATE FONDANTS
Makes 6 individual puddings
For the cherry coulis
250g (9oz) fresh, dark red or black cherries, pitted and halved 1½tbsp granulated sugar 2tsp lemon juice
For the chocolate fondant
12 fresh, dark red or black cherries, pitted 1tbsp cherry brandy 300g (10½oz) dark chocolate (about 75% cocoa solids), chopped 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, diced 4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature 4 large free-range egg yolks, at room temperature 110g (4oz) caster sugar 75g (2¾oz) plain flour 2tbsp cherry coulis (see above)
For the chocolate cherries
12 fresh, dark red or black cherries, with stems 75g (2¾oz) dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids) 1½tbsp double cream, at room temperature
For the cherry cream
200ml (7fl oz) double cream, well chilled Cherry coulis (see above), well chilled Icing sugar, for dusting Grease 6 small pudding moulds (about 200ml/ 7fl oz, 8cm/3¼in across the top and 5cm/2in across the base) with butter, then line the bases with baking paper and dust with cocoa powder.
Start by making the coulis. Place the cherries in a medium-sized pan and add the sugar, lemon juice and 1½tbsp water. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat so that the mixture is boiling gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until the cherries are very soft. Tip into a food processor and blitz to make a smooth purée. Press through a sieve into a bowl, then cover and refrigerate until needed.
To make the chocolate fondant, put the cherries into a small bowl and add the cherry brandy. Leave to macerate until needed. Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, set over a pan of steaming hot water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water) and melt gently, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside to cool. Put the whole eggs and yolks into a large mixing bowl (or a free-standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment). Add the sugar and whisk for about 4 minutes until the mixture is very thick and will make a ribbon-like trail when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Slowly whisk in the melted chocolate and butter. Sift the flour on and then carefully fold it in with a metal spoon or plastic spatula. Spoon enough chocolate mixture into the pudding moulds to half-fill them. Drain the macerated cherries (saving the liquid for the chocolate cherry filling) and add 2 cherries to each pudding mould.
Stir the chilled cherry coulis, then spoon 1tsp over the cherries in each mould. Cover the remaining coulis and return it to the fridge. Spoon the rest of the chocolate mixture on top and spread evenly – the mixture should be about 1cm (½in) below the rim of the moulds. Cover with clingfilm, then place the moulds on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until you are ready to bake them – they can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead.
Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate cherries. With the tip of a small sharp knife, carefully slit open each cherry at the side and remove the pit, keeping the cherry as intact as possible. Chop up 25g (1oz) of the dark chocolate and melt it gently in a small heatproof bowl as before. Remove the bowl from the pan and, using a wire hand whisk, mix in the cream and the reserved cherry brandy (from macerating the cherries for the fondant mixture). Set a piping bag in a mug or small jug (don’t snip off the tip yet) and pour the chocolate mixture into it. Leave until the chocolate has thickened up enough to pipe and to hold a shape without running, then snip off the end of the bag. Pipe the mixture into each cherry through the slit in the side, to fill the cavity and to ‘glue’ the cherry back into shape. Set the cherries on a plate lined with baking paper and chill for about 20 minutes until firm.
Meanwhile, chop up and melt the remaining chocolate as before. Remove the bowl from the pan then, holding each cherry by its stalk, dip it into the chocolate to coat. Put the cherries back on the lined plate and chill for 30 minutes until set. For the cherry cream, whip the double cream until it stands in soft peaks then fold in the remaining coulis. Spoon into a serving bowl, cover and chill until ready to serve.
When ready to bake, heat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Uncover the moulds and bake for 11-15 minutes until slightly risen and the top no longer looks raw and damp – the mixture in the middle of the surface will still be soft.
Quickly turn out on to serving plates and dust with icing sugar. Decorate each plate with 2 cherries and serve immediately, with the cherry cream.