Chocolate hazelnut fondant

I’m on a Stephane Reynaud roll it seems. While looking for the recipe for yesterday’s post on Osso Bucco I noticed a picture of a chocolate hazelnut fondant. I haven’t done a dessert blog post yet and this seemed quite simple (oops) so I gave it a go.

Now not only do I not make many desserts but I also don’t do much baking. Which probably meant this was a bad idea on two fronts. Still you don’t learn if you don’t try do you?

Everything was going well. Melting the chocolate and butter is a simple task and folding it all into the whisked egg mixture is no big deal. Then the easiest part – leaving it in the oven for a set time – was when it decided to go wrong.

The recipe clearly stated to cook it in the oven for 10 minutes or a little longer depending on the desired consistency. However when I checked mine after 10 minutes it still had the consistency of a brown, nutty puddle. Which was a problem. So I added an extra 10 minutes which seemed to help. I took it out and left it to cool; hoping that as it did so any remaining liquid would set slightly to the almost mousse-like consistency pictured in the book.

Well just because you hope something happens doesn’t mean it will actually happen.

Back in the oven it went for another 15 minutes.

This time it looked much better and was far more solid on top. A quick check with a skewer looked more promising for inside as well so I left it to cool.

Cutting it open while it was still slightly warm revealed a core that was still a little gooey with the rest of the cake still very soft. Just what I was hoping for even if it took a little longer to get there.

I scooped out some Mackie’s vanilla to go alongside the fondant (incidentally white ice cream on a white plate makes it very hard for a camera’s auto focus to work!) and settled down to enjoy it. Loads of great flavour from the chocolate and hazelnut and a surprising amount of orange from the zest. Like a cross between a jaffa cake and nutella. The soft cake, gooey fondant and crunchy hazelnuts all added a different texture to the dessert.

In the end I just wish I’d cut a bigger slice.

So what caused the timing problems? I think the assumption in the recipe is that you’ll be using a shallow dish or multiple dishes. Instead I poured the lot into one bread tin. This meant it took a lot longer to heat the centre of the fondant. Next time I’m going to make less of it and put it in individual ramekins to bake.

Serves 8

200g milk chocolate
100g hazelnuts
100g butter
50g cornflour
4 eggs
100g sugar
Zest of one orange

Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar until it forms a pale, frothy mixture.
Fold the melted chocolate and the rest of the ingredients into the egg mix.
Pour into a buttered baking tin or individual pots.
Bake for 10-30 minutes depending on how deep the dish is and the desired consistency (you can test this with a probe or a skewer).
Leave to cool before serving.

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