Bitter chocolate tart, ‘Hung, drawn and portered’ ice cream

The Recipes / Dessert

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

300g melted chocolate (64% cocoa)
300g unsalted butter
6 medium eggs, whipped with a mixer
250g caster sugar
150g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
5g baking powder

Salted caramel
150g double cream
150g caster sugar
20g salted butter

Poached apples
200ml apple juice
100ml cider
60g caster sugar
½ lemon, sliced
1 star anise
½ cinnamon stick
½ vanilla pod, split & scraped out 25g ginger, sliced
4 Braeburn apples, scooped into balls, skin-on

Calvados & caramel ice cream
75g caster sugar
500ml full fat milk
500ml double cream
12 medium egg yolks
75g trimoline
100ml Calvados

Apple crisps
100g caster sugar
4 Braeburn apples
½ lemon, juiced

Serves 12

Like so many others, this chocolate fondant is inspired by the great French chef Michel Bras. Luke Matthews visited Michel’s restaurant, Le Suquet in the Averyon region of France, over 20 years ago, and was blown away by the innovative and indulgent dessert.
When cooked correctly, its oozing centre makes for a show-stopping end to any special meal.

Sieve together all the dry ingredients for the fondants. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of warm water. Separately, whisk the eggs and sugar together to form a ribbon consistency. Slowly fold in the chocolate and butter mixture to the whipped eggs. Add the dry ingredients, carefully folding in with a wooden spoon. Fill a piping bag with the mixture.

In a heavy-based saucepan bring the cream for the salted caramel to the boil then set aside and keep warm. In a separate pan cook the sugar to a caramel (this should be a nice golden brown colour). Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the butter and a pinch of salt. When combined, slowly add the cream, bring back to the boil and cook till the caramel has dissolved. Allow to cool, then transfer to a piping bag.

Line 12 two-inch chefs’ rings with silicone paper on an ovenproof tray. Pipe chocolate mixture half way up, ensuring there are no gaps. Pipe caramel mixture into the centre of this layer, then top with the remaining chocolate mixture. Cook in the oven at 200˚C for 9–10 minutes: the timing will depend on your oven so you may need to experiment. When cooked, serve immediately.

To poach the apples, place all the ingredients except the apples in a pan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer then add the apples and cook for two minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. The cooling-down time will allow the apples to continue cooking and retain a slight crunch.

To make the ice-cream, cook the sugar to a caramel in a pan over a medium heat. Do not stir at any time while the sugar is over the heat – only shake the pan. In a separate pan warm the cream and milk. Carefully pour onto the caramel, whisking all the time. Whisk the egg yolks, then pour on the cream and sugar mixture. Return to the heat, and bring back to 82˚C, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat, add the trimoline and a pinch of salt, mix well then allow to cool on ice before adding the Calvados. When cool churn in an ice cream machine and store in a container in the freezer until required.

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C for the apple crisps. Dissolve the sugar in 100ml of water over a medium heat. Remove the syrup from the heat and set to one side. Slice the apples thinly through the core and immerse the slices into the syrup. Leave for five minutes. Line an oven tray with greaseproof paper and spread the sliced apples out so that they are not touching. Place another piece of greaseproof on top then another tray and put in the oven to dry the apple slices out.

To dress the plate, spoon salted caramel onto the plates and drag across to form a long teardrop. Place a couple of the poached apples on the plate with the cooked chocolate fondant with a scoop of the ice cream garnish and apple crisp. Serve at once.