Chocolate fondant with cherries and vanilla anglaise

Combining hot chocolate puddings, poached cherries and chilled vanilla anglaise is divine

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the cherries in Banylus
  • 400ml/14fl oz Banylus (sweet dessert wine)
  • 600g/11⁄4 lb firm, ripe dark cherries
  • (preferably Montmorency or Black Tartarian),
  • stalks removed, and washed
  • 75g/3fl oz sugar syrup
  • For the chocolate fondant
  • 100g/4oz dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
  • 100g/4oz butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 30g/11⁄4 oz caster sugar
  • 45g/13⁄4 oz plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks

For the vanilla anglaise
  • 500ml/18fl oz milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100g/4oz caster sugar

Pour the dessert wine into a pan, bring to the boil and reduce over a high heat by half. Lower the heat and add the cherries with the sugar syrup. Simmer gently for 8-10 minutes. Ladle the cherries into a warmed sterilised jar. Pour the syrup over the fruit. Allow to cool then seal and store in a cool, dark place for up to three months. Refrigerate after opening.

Butter 4 ramekins or dariole moulds and set aside.

To make the fondant, melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Meanwhile, beat the whole eggs with the sugar and flour until smoothly blended.

When the chocolate has melted, take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks, followed by the whisked egg, sugar and flour mix.

Pour into the prepared ramekins or darioles. Set aside until ready to bake.

For the vanilla anglaise, slowly bring the milk to the boil in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl using an electric whisk until very pale. Pour on the hot milk a little at a time, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Stir for 3 minutes with a wooden spoon over a low heat or until the vanilla anglaise thickens slightly. Do not boil – the temperature should not exceed 84°C. Pour the sauce into a chilled bowl and allow to cool, then chill.

Shortly before serving, preheat the oven to 190°C, 375°F, Gas 5. Place the ramekins or darioles on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Carefully tip the fondants out of their moulds onto serving plates and dust with icing sugar. Surround with the Banylus cherries and some of their juice. Spoon the chilled vanilla anglasie around the puddings and serve immediately.

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