From elaborate tarts glistening with fruit, to a simple serving of fromage blanc topped with a ruby red, fresh berry coulis – nobody does dessert quite like the French. At least, that’s what most of us are bound to think when we enter a pâtisserie or marvel at a beautiful, sweet creation presented to us at a restaurant. Desserts, especially the French kind, can be intimidating.
But the truth is that some (if not most) are quite easy to recreate at home. Even the impressive desserts that many are too intimidated to try, in fear of a possible culinary disaster. Take the moelleux au chocolat, for example. When I first had this little cake at a restaurant many years ago, I didn’t think much of it – until my spoon tore through the cakey layer and met with a heart of warm, molten chocolate. After that very first bite, I fell in love with the dessert and knew that I had to make it for friends at my next dinner party. The only question was ‘how’.
Through trial and error, I finally came up with the perfect recipe – and the beautiful thing about it is that it’s child’s play to make. Plus, it requires very little ingredients. I like to serve my moelleux au chocolat warm, with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream or a pool of crème anglaise, and preferably in good company. This impressive, chocolatey cake is proof that when referring to some of the most indulgent desserts, ‘fuss-free’ and ‘French’ can indeed be used in the same sentence.
Moelleux au Chocolat
Serves 6 (if using small ramequins, 4 if using bigger ones)
150g pure dark chocolate
100g salted butter
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
50g all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 210°C and butter your ramequins well.
Melt the chocolate and the salted butter au bain marie and allow this mixture to cool slightly.
In a small bowl or glass jug, whisk the eggs and the yolks until creamy.
Add the sugar and whisk again.
Whisk in the flour and the chocolate and butter mixture.
Divide the batter over the buttered ramequins and bake for approximately 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your ramequins.
To serve, place a small plate over the ramequin and carefully (using oven gloves if still hot) shake gently until they are released. You may have to use the tip of a small knife to help some of them a little.
Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel writer with a good dose of joie de vivre. She is passionate about French cooking, old-fashioned chansons, Rembrandt and life. Paola is available for all kinds of recipe development, food and wine writing, and culinary advice. For more information visit: inmylife-paola.blogspot.com