Looking to serve up something sweet this Valentine’s day? Celebrate the holiday with a loved one or a group of your closest girl friends with these yummy chocolate covered strawberries and gooey chocolate fondant. There’s a reason this chocolate lava cake is found on the menu at nearly every restaurant (I used to prepare Chef Pisaniello’s version at Michelin starred La Locanda di Bu in Nusco, Italy) – it’s extremely easy to make and incredibly yummy. A cross between a souffle and a flourless chocolate cake (although this recipe has flour), it’s origin is heavily disputed. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims that he invented it in NYC in 1987, but the well-reknowned chocolatier Jacques Torres insists that it existed in France much earlier. Personally, I find it hard to believe that such a simple recipe didn’t become widespread until the late 1980’s,but Jean-Georges can at the very least claim to have spearheaded it’s popularity stateside. Whichever tale you choose to believe, this is one tasty treat that is sure never to go out of style. Why not make it a bit boozy and add some Bailey’s? Serve with chocolate dipped strawberries, champagne, ice cream and fresh mint.
100 g superfine sugar
100 g flour, sifted
100 g dark chocolate (70%), broken up into pieces
100 g butter, cut into small chunks
50 g butter, melted
2 egg yolks
2 tbl Bailey’s
2 tsp hazelnut extract
cocoa powder, for dusting
4 ramekins or 150-200 ml moulds
- Grease the ramekins with the melted butter in upward strokes. Chill in the fridge for 15 min and repeat. Dust with the cocoa powder.
- Over a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together. Let stand to cool for 20 min. Add in the Bailey’s if wanted.
- Whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar until it’s pale and fluffy – the whisk should leave a trail through the mixture. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
- Fold in the melted butter and chocolate mixture in thirds. Pour into a pitcher or jug and then evenly distribute into the four individual ramekins.
- Put the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 min at 390° F – the tops should just be forming a crust and the sides should come away from the ramekins a bit.
- Let them stand for 1 min, then flip over onto a plate and remove from the ramekin. Serve with ice cream and garnish with chocolate covered strawberries.
*These can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to one month. If cooking from frozen, add 5 min to the cooking time.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
10 strawberries, washed
50 g chocolate, broken into chunks
1 tsp butter
ground pistachios and white chocolate stars for decorating
- Melt together the chocolate and the butter and let stand to cool for 5-7 min. Meanwhile, cover a plate with wax paper and pour the white chocolate stars and ground pistachios into two small separate bowls
- Dip the strawberries into the melted chocolate one by one and twist to allow the excess to drip off. Dip each into the preferred decoration (white chocolate stars or pistachios) and place on the wax paper.
- Once all the strawberries have been covered with chocolate and decorated, put in the fridge for at least 20 min to allow the chocolate to set.
- Once they have set, peel them off the wax paper and serve alongside the chocolate fondant and a glass of bubbly!