First, there’s chocolate. A piece of it, to be precise. Milk chocolate maybe, or you could like it dark, but without any sort of filling, straight out of the fridge, as solid as a rock. Then you pop it in your mouth and it becomes something else.
As it slowly warms and melts in your mouth, coating your tongue, your teeth, your inner cheeks with a thick layer of sensuous, delicious cream, you have to admit it. That even the very idea of it makes you sink back into your seat, close your eyes blissfully and think (if at all you are capable of thinking by that point): ‘If I were to die right now, like this, I would die happy’.
So as you see, first, there’s chocolate. Then, there’s a meltdown (both the chocolate and you). Finally, there’s bliss. And so we bring you three chocolate desserts. Not with plain old chocolate, but molten chocolate that slowly oozes into your mouth and takes over the moment you take a bite.
Molten chocolate, says Nidhi Bagheria, owner of Celeste Chocolates, is simply bars of chocolate that have been roughly chopped and then slowly melted over a double boiler, with the thick, creamy result used as a filling in certain recipes, or as a topping in others.
While you can melt both milk and dark chocolate, dark chocolate is preferred for desserts because desserts usually involve large amounts of sugar in any case. Most chefs use bars from the brand Selbourne. “These chocolate bars are available by the kilo and can be bought at all good food stores in India,” says Nasim Ahamad Delvi, former head of the bakery division at The Lalit, New Delhi.
You can dip fruit or dunk cookies into melted chocolate, Or slather it onto a luscious brownie. Or pour it into cupcake moulds, bung them into the fridge and eat chocolate cups whenever you feel the urge to be sinful.
But before you do any of that, keep in mind that melted chocolate needs to be tempered before it can be cooked or eaten – so your dessert looks as good as it tastes. Tempering is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to prepare it for dipping and moulding. “Once the chocolate is heated, bring the temperature down to 24 degrees. To do this, add chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate and keep stirring to give it a smooth finish,” says chef Delvi. “Chocolate that is tempered has a smooth texture, a glossy shine and a pleasant ‘snap’ when you break it or bite into it.”
Molten chocolate can be used to make a wide array of desserts – chocolate chip cake with molten chocolate, Cointreau pudding on the run, and (can this be true?) gulab jamuns with molten chocolate. “Yes, we have given a very interesting twist to this very Indian dessert,” says Abhishek Basu, executive chef at The Park, New Delhi. “The chocolate is frozen and then put inside the dough before the gulab jamun is fried. Before it’s served to the customer, the gulab jamun is heated so that when the customer bites into it, he or she is surprised by the flowing molten chocolate.”
Try the three recipes featured here, and then go ahead and do your own experiments with the chocolate meltdown. And remember one important thing about molten chocolate desserts – any failures can always be eaten.
Molten Chocolate Cups
• Selbourne dark chocolate - 600 gm
• Butter - 50 gm
• Cream - 250 ml
• Dark chocolate - 500 ml
• Strawberry - 300 gm
• Chop and heat the chocolate in a microwave for a minute. Then add more chopped chocolate to it while stirring constantly.
• Once the chocolate has achieved shine and glaze, fill chocolate cup moulds or small plastic glasses with it.
• Remove extra chocolate with a spatula, tap the moulds so no air bubbles are formed and put them in the fridge for 5-7 minutes.
• Then demould the cups and stack the cups on each other. The molten chocolate will help them stick.
• Top with strawberries and molten chocolate. Garnish with fresh fruit on the side or orange zest.
Pair molten chocolate with fruit, cookies, ice-cream, roasted almonds. Add rum, Cointreau or vodka to molten chocolate cake.
Recipe courtesy: Nasim Ahamad Delvi
Gulab Jamun With Molten Chocolate
• Khoya (dhaab) - 1 kg
• Chenna - 300 gm
• Refined flour - 200 gm
• Green cardamom powder - 5 gm
• Chocolate - 300 gm
• Ghee - 500 gm
• Grain sugar - 2.5 kg
• Water - 1.25 ml
Mash khoya, chenna, refined flour and green cardamom powder together to form a smooth and fine dough.
• Melt chocolate and allow it to set at room temperature. When set, make small dumplings of chocolate.
• Make dumplings of dough stuffed with chocolate. Keep aside. Make a syrup of sugar and water and cook till the syrup is a bit thick.
• Fry the dumplings in ghee till golden brown, then soak them in sugar syrup. Serve warm. Garnish the gulab jamuns with rabri topped with saffron and rose petals.
You can also serve these gulab jamuns with vanilla ice-cream.
Recipe courtesy: Abhishek Basu
Cointreau Pudding On The Run
• Egg yolks - 10
• Sugar - 275 gm
• Butter - 500 gm
• Flour - 50 gm
• Orange zest - 20 gm
• Cointreau - 30 ml
• Selbourne chocolate (melted) - 600 gm
• Five spice powder - 1 tsp
Mix the egg yolks and sugar together. Whisk it, add orange zest.
• Then add the melted butter and melted chocolate, followed by the flour and five spice powder (a mix of cinnamon, star anise, bay leaf, szchewan pepper and clove).
• Add the Cointreau. Set the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then put it in a mould and bake at 180° for 10 minutes. After taking it out, put the pudding on a grill and glaze it with melted chocolate.
• Plate the pudding, decorate it with orange chocolate curls and garnish with orange syrup or strawberry sauce, fresh strawberries or other fruit.
You can serve this with vanilla or butterscotch ice-cream.
Recipe courtesy: Nasim Ahamad Delvi
From HT Brunch, October 27
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