A chocolate pudding fit for a Prince

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OVER the last few weeks I have been writing recipes for Valentine’s focusing on cooking mostly main dishes, and so this week I want to share one of my all-time favourite chocolate puddings that is remarkably easy to do if you follow this recipe carefully!

We have had chocolate fondant on and off the menus at all the Geraniums for a long time. It’s only ever off when we get tired of it and look for changes, but somehow nothing is ever as good as a fab squidgy, super runny, smooth, rich choc pudding that is guaranteed to make you want to cook it over and over again.

I was telling my sous chef Jamie (he makes the fondants) that it is strangely funny, but because I have been cooking for so long most of my dishes have memories like a song might do for you I guess!

The first time I ever cooked a fondant was in a restaurant where I was chef/patron and it was my first ever head chef’s position.

I took it from the oven, checked it and dressed it and sent it.

But inside I was concerned that it might not run enough from the centre, and the whole point of this pud is the gooey, runny centre otherwise you may as well serve a chocolate sponge!

When the waitress came into the kitchen I asked her if T5 was ok (the fondant table) She said I don’t really know…they are moving it around their plates a lot, I’m not sure that they are enjoying it.

So with my fingers (and toes) crossed I approached the table and asked “Is everything ok with the chocolate fondant?”

This Canadian speaking lady said, “Honey it’s not the chocolate fondant that’s the problem, it’s the last 23 years of marriage!” Every time I turn one out I think of that lady.

Much later on I cooked them for Prince Charles at a London charity event. My daughter was serving at the event and I asked her to check on the desserts.

Knowing all my stories (She’s fed up with them!) she came back to the kitchen and said “Dad they said ‘nothing wrong with the fondants it’s the last two weeks of marriage’!” (Prince Charles and Camilla had recently been wed).

I laughed out loud and the chefs looked at me in a way that said … It’s not that funny, but they didn’t know the story!

Chocolate Fondant

2 tbsp cocoa powder 200 g unsalted butter 200 g good dark chocolate (minimum 70 per cent cocoa solids) 4 whole eggs 4 egg yolks 200 g caster sugar 200 g self-raising flour

Step 1 PREHEAT THE OVEN Preheat the oven to 190ºC.

Step 2 LINE THE RAMEKINS Get four ramekins or approx 200ml pudding moulds (some of the supermarkets sell the foil ones but use once only). Grease the ramekins with a thin layer of butter. Tip cocoa powder into the ramekins and dust liberally to coat the whole inside with the cocoa powder.

Step 3 MAKE THE BATTER Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl set over a pan of hot water. Take off the heat and stir until smooth. Crack the eggs and egg yolks into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until pale. Fold the chocolate mix into the eggs. Add the flour and fold to combine fully.

Step 4 FREEZE Pour the chocolate mix into the ramekins, filling about ¾ of the way up. Put the ramekins onto a baking tray and freeze.

Step 5 BAKE Bake in a preheated oven 180c for 12 minutes. Remove and allow to rest on the kitchen side for 2 minutes. Turn out and serve immediately.

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