As Easter time approaches, it only seemed fitting to talk about everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, Chocolate!
Cooking with chocolate can be a complex subject. What percentage chocolate do I use? Can I use milk chocolate?! What’s the difference?!?
Chocolate is manufactured from roasting and grinding the cocoa beans, which then produces a pure chocolate liquid as the fats from the beans melt. This is then separated to produce cocoa butter, and cocoa solids. These cocoa solids are then mixed with some of the cocoa butter, depending on the manufacturer. This will then have sugar and milk added to produce a chocolate ‘bar’.
Cheap, mass produced chocolate will contain things like milk powder instead of fresh milk, and also vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, which explains the difference in quality and price. Adding these ingredients into the chocolate is what causes different brands to react differently to cooking.
My advice would be to choose a chocolate made using cocoa solids and cocoa butter, such as Green & Blacks or Valrhona. As long as you buy good quality chocolate, then it doesn’t matter whether you use a milk chocolate, dark chocolate or a white chocolate, the recipe will just come out slightly differently!
This month we will be using a beautiful Madagascan chocolate to produce our dark chocolate delice, served with a chocolate crumb, whipped vanilla crème fraiche, roasted walnuts & fresh lime.
I also always get asked about making chocolate fondants, so have decided to publish the recipe, which you can see below. If you are having a go at home, I would love to see how they turn out!
Dark Chocolate Fondant
500g of dark chocolate (snapped into small pieces)
500g of butter (diced)
Splash Vanilla EXTRACT
10 egg yolks
500g of caster sugar
125g of plain flour
- Place the butter and chocolate in a sturdy bowl, and then over a simmering pot of water (Bain-Marie). Allow to gently melt, stirring occasionally. You want the chocolate and butter melted together and emulsified, but don’t get the mixture too hot!
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined.
- Gently mix in the melted chocolate mixture, followed by the egg mixture.
- Once combined, sift the flour over the top of the mix and very gently fold together.
- Next, grease your pudding moulds with butter, followed by a light layer of cocoa powder. This will ensure they come out of the mould!
- Fill the moulds with your mixture until they are 2/3 full.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven @ 200°c, they should take 8-10 minutes. The fondants should have a slight wobble, but not too much.
- Once removed from the oven, leave to rest for 1 minute before turning them out onto a plate and enjoying!