There aren’t many puddings you can make that describe themselves as “fail-safe”. It’s a bold claim.
Especially when it comes to a chocolate fondant.
I couldn’t help but remember John Torode’s words on Masterchef once when a contestant decided to end her 3 course meal with the aforementioned dessert. Something about the road to Hell being paved with chocolate fondants.
So I was simultaneously intrigued and sceptical when trying out Lakeland’s Fondant Dessert Kit. “Make the perfect melt in the middle puddings!” it claimed.
Ok. But can you make them successfully when the ingredients are gluten-free?
Ah, you can hear Mephistopheles cackling already.
But that’s never stopped me from experimenting so out came the gluten-free self-raising flour (thanks, Doves Farm).
The most interesting thing about the kit is that it comes with a fillings tray. This allows you to make the melting part of the fondant separately, which you freeze overnight. Could this be the very trick that’s needed to ensure a perfect fondant every time? Could you also make it easily at a dinner party without abandoning guests for an hour?
3 Melted chocolateAll you have to do for the middles is boil cream and melt butter & chocolate into it. The mixture then gets poured into the moulds and frozen. Seemples!
Look further ahead, however, and the recipe looks rather more taxing.
Eggs & sugar are beaten together until thick & pale (ok, quite manageable with an electric whisk). Flour’s folded in (hmmm, couldn’t help but be reminded of getting this part horribly wrong in days gone by) and then melted chocolate’s added. Worse, it’s supposed to be folded in. Anyone fancy knocking out some air?
But then it all gets clever again. You pour a quarter of the mixture into the pudding moulds and bake for 5 mins. Then you whip them out of the oven and put a fondant disc from the freezer into each mould, which you cover with the rest of the mixture. Then you bake again for another 20 mins.
But what about the gluten-free bit? Well, the amount of flour needed is only 50g. This is reassuring when you consider the proportion of other ingredients. (There are 5 eggs.) I’ve found that substituting gluten-free flour in a normal recipe seems to work best if not much needs to go in. Otherwise you tend to need a completely different recipe.
So gluten-free flour went in. And a plant-based margarine instead of butter (apparently this makes a better cake). It doesn’t make it dairy-free because of the cream needed for the filling but perhaps a kind dairy-free soul will comment below to declare whether using a vegan cream also works.
18 Pouring mixture on top of middles 2And then, the moment of truth… The great thing about fondants is that they can be eaten two minutes after they come out of the oven (great for the impatient among us). But it’s also the worst thing because it means you can’t make them ahead. Furthermore, if you’re doing a baking experiment, you’re left with 6 fondants to eat all at once (sounds great but I’m not sure even the piggiest person could get through more than 2 – they’re huge!).
So what were they like?
Well, I’ve got to hand it to Lakeland: the fail-safe claim works. They rose beautifully and smelled fantastic. Admittedly, I might have left the fondants in the oven a little bit too long: they state baking for between 20 – 25mins – I plumped for 24 & the middles weren’t quite as gooey as one would hope.
But they were absolutely delicious! Not only that, but after scoffing one of the six I decided to let the remainder cool and chopped them up for a meeting I was going to later. And whaddya know? Praise galore!
I meant to do a video for this post but ran out of time. Instead, I’ve put together a considerable number of photos which are about as good as it gets without motion picture itself.
What you’ll need
Melted fondant middles (about to go into moulds into the freezer)
Whisk eggs & sugar
The whisked mixture
Sift in gluten-free flour
Fold in the flour carefully
Add melted chocolate (mmmm!)
Fold in the chocolate carefully
Soon the mixture will be thoroughly mixed
Transfer to a small jug to enable easy pouring
Don’t forget to scrape every last bit of chocolate mixture in!
Grease the moulds well
Pour in a quarter of the mixture
Put the moulds into the oven for 5 mins
Take out the frozen fondant discs
Add a disc to each mould
Pour over the rest of the chocolate mixture
Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius
After 20 mins take them out of the oven (look how they’re risen!)
Carefully peel off the mould and transfer to a plate.
Tuck in to your gooey fondant (yum!).
So here’s the verdict:
* They taste amazing!
* The silicone moulds are easy to use.
* The instructions are excellent.
* There are lots of different recipes in the booklet.
* The silicone moulds can go in the dishwasher.
* You’ll need to prepare the middles the night before.
* Making the fondant mixture & baking takes about 45 minutes – not great if you have guests waiting.
* It’s not a beginner’s pudding by any means – if you’re the sort of person who can’t make a cake, particularly one where you need to beat eggs separately and then fold in flour, this probably isn’t the dessert for you.
The competition is now closed – many thanks to all who entered.