Richard’s Black Forest chocolate fondants

It’s been about a month since I last baked for this blog. Everything slows down in times of COVID, it seems.

The reason I chose this bake is because cherries are finally in season! I’ve been waiting to do this one justice until I could get delicious local cherries.

Before I go into the details of this recipe, though, I have a question for Richard: What do you mean by “fondant”? Because when I see the word “fondant” I think of that less-than-delicious-but-actually-beautiful icing that tops a cake to make it look picture perfect.

(Side note: Did anyone watch the movie Picture Perfect with Jennifer Aniston? I can only assume it did not age well. Very few movies did.)

When I search “chocolate fondant” as opposed to simply “fondant” though, Google suggests “molten chocolate cake” instead.

So I suppose that’s what you mean by “fondant,” Richard.

Stop being so fancy and confusing.

The first step of this recipe is to make a “coulis.” I always assume you pronounce “coulis” with the “s” sound, but maybe it’s more like “coolie” but either way, I want to avoid saying it out loud because I feel like I would embarrass myself.

I’ve never had a reason to say it out loud. I’ve seen it on menus, but I tend to just say, “The cheesecake, please” instead of “The cheesecake with raspberry coolie, cooliss, cow-liss, please.”

I’m thirding this recipe, so instead of 250 grams of fresh cherries, pitted and halved, I did 83 grams in a new white t-shirt. After I halved and pitted (by hand because I don’t have a handy gadget) while leaning away from the counter, I then decided to grab an apron. (Good thing I did, because later on the chocolate attacked me.)

I put the cherries in a small pan (as opposed to medium, because I used so few cherries) with sugar, lemon juice and water.

I then turned on the low heat to melt the sugar, and started prepping the other cherries for the actual fondant mixture.

The recipe called for 12 and my basic math skills told me to grab four cherries.

It says nothing about halving them, only pitting them, but when you are without a pitter (is that what it’s called?), you have to cut them in half in order to remove the pit.

This is also where I’m supposed to introduce cherry brandy:

“Put the cherries into a small bowl and add the cherry brandy. Leave to macerate until needed.”

First of all, “macerate” is an excellent word. Second of all, I went to a liquor store and could only find orange brandy for $25. I was not about to search the surrounding liquor stores in search of a large bottle of something I’d only need one tablespoon of, so I made a call: no macerating required.

After some patience, the sugar melted and I turned it up to a boil to soften those cherries.

With those softening, I prepped the next step: butter and chocolate.

I also measured out the sugar and (gluten-free) flour, held the eggs under warm water to make them room temperature and had a drink of water.

Finally the cherries in the pan were soft enough and I poured them into the food processor to purée. With so few of them, it didn’t go very well. I left the machine running for a while until I eventually poured it into a bowl through a sieve.

It doesn’t look very impressive, right? Just wait until you see how much came through the other side of the sieve:

Pathetic. This is the smallest mixing bowl I had on hand.

As instructed, though, I put it in the fridge for later.

I then put the mushy stuff in the sieve into the bowl with the unmacerated cut cherries. I can’t tell you why I did this, other than it seemed wasteful to throw out what’s essentially the beginnings of cherry jam. I thought it might add some nice flavour and texture.

Don’t question my ways.

With the coulis ready, I began melting the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. The usual process. And may I just say, yet again, how much I love melting chocolate. It’s so calming. Until, of course, you stir it and a bubble somehow bursts and attacks your apron.

Thankfully I put it on and saved my new white shirt.

Who wears a new white shirt to bake?

A fool, that’s who.

With the chocolate and butter melted and set aside, I whipped up the eggs and sugar.

Now this recipe makes six individual puddings, requiring four whole eggs and four egg yolks. I could have done one whole egg and one egg yolk, but that isn’t strictly a third of four whole eggs and four egg yolks. By my guesstimate, I figured four whole eggs and four egg yolks equals six eggs, assuming an egg yolk is half an egg, so by thirding the recipe, I did two whole eggs.

Again, don’t question my methods.

The eggs whipped up beautifully until “thick and mousse-like” and then I tried to slowly add the melted chocolate. This is difficult to do with one hand, so I poured slowly as much as I could while whipping and then spatula’d out the rest.

With that incorporated, I sifted in the gluten-free flour (after a quick rinse to remove cherry gunk from the only sieve I had).

And then I folded.

Another relaxing activity.

If you know how to fold. (Sorry, David and Moira.)

I then prepped the pudding dishes (because I forgot to prep them at the beginning) by quickly hand-washing the dishes and buttering them. The butter didn’t seem to be sticking very well, but when I added the cocoa, it seemed okay. So I went with it.

I filled up each dish halfway with the chocolate mixture, divided the faux-macerated cherry mixture between the two and added some of the pitiful amount of coulis.

I then topped each one with the remaining chocolatey goop and tucked them into the fridge for later.

With those chilling, I whipped some cream and popped it into the bowl the coulis was in since there was still a smattering. I folded that together and placed it in the fridge for later.

After a double-patty cheeseburger and a side of sliced veggies (shared with the dog, who recently started to love carrots in addition to his usual favourite, cucumbers)…

…I turned on the oven and popped these in.

The recipe says to bake them for “11-15 minutes until slightly risen and the top no longer looks raw and damp.” Apparently “the mixture in the middle of the surface will still be slightly soft.”

Well, since they were in the fridge for so long, it was hard to see if it was “raw and damp” or cooked through on the top, so after about 15 minutes, I touched the top. It still seemed soft everywhere, so I left it in a little longer until the edges felt cooked.

I pulled them out and turned them around onto plates and… nothing.

I knew the dishes weren’t buttered enough.

So I turned the bowls back around (all with oven mitts since they’re fresh from the oven) and dug around the outside with a spoon. I then flipped one onto a plate and it came out with less elegance than I was hoping for.

I then did the same thing with the other one and things took a turn.

But we all know that sifted icing sugar covers a multitude of sins.

As does a healthy helping of coulis-streaked whipped cream.

This recipe also wanted me to make chocolate-covered cherries but I chose not to for several reasons:

  1. I don’t actually like chocolate-covered fruit. I find it difficult to eat. If you’re going to combine chocolate and fruit, just do a fondue.
  2. It was several steps long and I just didn’t want to spend that much time on a garnish.
  3. With the difficulty I faced halving and pitting cherries, it would have been impossible to leave them intact in order to cover them with chocolate.

Instead of adding a side of chocolate-covered cherries, then, I went with fresh cherries:

But I probably should have added the cherries after the dollop of cherry cream.

Since it’s nearly July and the weather was nice enough to enjoy these outside, I upped the presentation with some evening tea and a nice tray.

Lovely, right?

And oh so delicious.

It didn’t last long and was so decadent. Even though the coulis was a lot of work, it made the whipped cream so much better. And cherry brandy would have been nice to add a little something extra to this, but not enough to search multiple stores and buy a massive bottle.

If anyone has recommendations of where I could get a wee little bottle of cherry brandy, I’d add that next time.

Thanks for reading to the end!

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