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Step-by-step

PUBLISHED: 10:27 19 May 2014 | UPDATED: 10:27 19 May 2014

Hot Chocolate Fondant.
March: Step by Step Dish.
Prepared by Richard Hughes, Lavender House, Brundall.

Picture: James Bass

Hot Chocolate Fondant. March: Step by Step Dish. Prepared by Richard Hughes, Lavender House, Brundall. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2014

With each child in the UK receiving an average of nine eggs over the Easter holiday period, I try to ensure my grandsons, Isaac and Miles, get a grounded upbringing by relieving them of anything over and above that number. They get far too many – so I always do my duty, visiting more frequently to relieve them of as many I can, hopefully without them noticing. Being a thoughtful chap, I wouldn’t want them to be sick. Last year’s Peppa Pig pink egg was a disappointment, as I excitedly thought it was going to be a reminder of the Pink Panther strawberry chocolate bar from the early 1970s – sadly not, though it was another case of eating locally, as it’s produced at Kinnerton in Fakenham.

With each child in the UK receiving an average of nine eggs over the Easter holiday period, I try to ensure my grandsons, Isaac and Miles, get a grounded upbringing by relieving them of anything over and above that number. They get far too many – so I always do my duty, visiting more frequently to relieve them of as many I can, hopefully without them noticing. Being a thoughtful chap, I wouldn’t want them to be sick. Last year’s Peppa Pig pink egg was a disappointment, as I excitedly thought it was going to be a reminder of the Pink Panther strawberry chocolate bar from the early 1970s – sadly not, though it was another case of eating locally, as it’s produced at Kinnerton in Fakenham.

With 90 million-plus chocolate eggs sold in the UK, the two weeks over Easter account for more than 10pc of chocolate sales for the whole year. Production of Cadburys Creme Egg peaks at a staggering 1.5 million a day in March and April.

But Easter treats are not all about chocolate – we have the allotments starting to sprout early salads, new season lamb is available and, of course, terrific traditional cakes and pastries.

However, let’s stick with the chocolate theme and try a restaurant classic – the hot chocolate fondant – that is ideal for an Easter treat, being very impressive yet very simple to make. The secret of success is all in the timing. You need a crisp outer shell to reveal a melting centre. Served with a very trendy sea salt caramel or good old vanilla ice cream, its always a bit of show stopper. They can be made well in advance and stored in the freezer, leave them to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

Chocolate fondant

Makes eight individual fondants

50g melted butter, for brushing

50g cocoa

50g walnuts

200g good quality dark chocolate (60pc minimum cocoa solids)

200g butter

4 eggs

4 egg yolks

150g plain flour

1 Blitz together the walnuts and cocoa.

2 Tip into a bowl, weigh out 50g in total for the mixture, using the remainder to coat the moulds.

3 Place the butter and chocolate over a pan of hot water to gently melt.

4 Break four eggs into a bowl.

5 Separate the other four eggs, placing the yolks into the bowl.

6 Add the sugar.

7 Whisk on full speed until the mixture is thick, creamy ,and double in volume.

8 Butter the chosen moulds.

9 Coat with the remaining cocoa and walnut mixture.

10 Pour the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mix.

11 Sift in the flour.

12 Gently fold in.

13 Add the cocoa and walnut mix. Fold in.

14 Place into the prepared moulds, almost to the top. Chill for a least 20 mins.

15 Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas Mark 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins. The tops should have formed a crust with a still liquid centre.

16 Remove from oven, then leave to sit for one minute before turning out. Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly on to your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up.

Richard Hughes is chef proprietor of The Lavender House at Brundall and the Richard Hughes Cookery School. He is also director of The Assembly House, Norwich, www.thelavenderhouse.o.uk wwwrichardhughescookeryschool.co.uk

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