FOOD

Last or­ders on our fab­u­lous Bake Off treats

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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.

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