Tender Chestnut Bundlet Fondants with Chocolate Ganache
FOR THE BOYS
Is it Spring yet? If they can’t bring me snow then it might as well be spring. I glance out the window and up into the steely skies and wonder if it is as chilly out as I imagine it is or is it only cold inside this old, rambling apartment? We are still eating soup every single night for dinner, and how cozy it is! The young dudes have a surprising three week vacation so are here at our house every single day working, working, working late into the night. I love the noise and bustle, the chatter of youthful voices, the bouncing excitement of Marty as he attempts hourly to insinuate himself into the all-male crowd. JP and I enjoy a salad at noon then sneak into the kitchen in the early evening to prepare our soup and cheese platter (are we Old Folks now?), making a quick getaway, leaving the kitchen open to the guys. Bowls of spaghetti with pesto, hunks of cheese and entire loaves of bread fuel their young bodies and minds, the clatter of silverware, pots and pans and laughter drowned out by the music blaring from the tiny kitchen radio perched atop the shiny red shelves. Happy is this mother when she hears the rush of the tap water and the cheerful jabbering as the young dudes wash the sink full of dishes, leaving a clean kitchen for me to find the following morning.
And three complete weeks of a houseful of twenty-somethings means that I can bake and bake to my heart’s content. I peek my head around the corner of the bedroom door and ask “Cake?” as three pairs of eyes turn towards me and light up! The fourth pair of lovely brown eyes rolls heavenward in annoyance and disgust at his mother once again pushing cake and cookies at his friends, yet aren’t the rest of them thrilled with the offerings of dessert and snack? I push open the door and walk in unasked, unannounced, platter of cookies or cakes held aloft as Marty prances around my feet, and simply place the plate on the edge of the desk, smile and leave. They glance nervously in Clem’s direction, wondering if they can partake and enjoy without his disdain, without feeling as if they are abetting the opposition, in cahoots with his baking mom, stepping over into enemy territory. Yet hours later after they have all packed up and headed home, I go to collect the cake platter and find it empty. “Was it good?” I wonder aloud. “Yes,” he answers grudgingly, loathe to admit that what I have baked was enjoyed by one and all, including himself.
I have said it before and I stand by my former statements: I am not one who enjoys making tiny things: cookies are my bane, and no matter how much I love grabbing a handful and nibbling on a stack of great, moist, chewy cookies, one after the next, while curled up with a good book, the making of them is highly overrated: It is hard, time-consuming work demanding an entire afternoon with nose stuck to the oven window, the most unforgiving of all baked goods. Those, like myself, who are easily distracted or wildly undisciplined multi-taskers are hopeless cookie burners. Cupcakes are not my piece of cake, truth be told, fussy and feminine, less enticing than a thick slice of cake where all the dense, moist, chocolaty goodness is there for all the world to see, offering itself up to you openly, unfalteringly, not coy like the cupcake all wrapped up in a paper casing, hidden under an overpowering slather of icing, never giving you the choice of how much you are allowed to eat. Yet…yet, once in a while the right recipe comes along or just the situation in which a tiny this or an individual that is somehow just perfect! Tiramisù molded in perfect rounds and served up on single dessert plates, one per person, is sexy indeed, giving each guest the feeling of luxury and being pampered by the offering of something so gorgeous, rich and voluptuous, so personal. Single glasses of thick, creamy puddings, panna cotta or crème brulée are delightful, grab one out of the refrigerator any time, day or night, and indulge without disturbing the others. And individual tiny Bundlet cakes, the most attractive shape like something royal, popped out of the pan, baring itself and all of its goodness to the world unhampered by paper wrappings and drizzled with a sensuous draping of velvety smooth, glistening chocolate ganache. Now that is worth the effort!
So as the boys work, I bake and I tiptoe into the room where they are working in a haze of youthful energy and passion and carefully and silently place a platter of meltingly smooth fondants before them. A fondant is simply a cake so moist and tender that it melts in the mouth, so light and ethereal it disappears in a flash, fading into a sweet afterthought. The chestnut flour gives these cakes a rather strange yet intriguing, addictive, nutty yet deeply earthy flavor, a perfect pairing with the deep bittersweet chocolate ganache, subduing the sweetness of the cake just so, adding a chocolate zing to the chestnut just so, making a wonderfully luxurious, absolutely intense, complex, irresistible combination.
My individual Chestnut Fondant Bundlets and mini-cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache are just perfect for this month’s Monthly Mingle, created by our own lovely, talented Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? This month hostess with the mostess is my wonderful friend Astrid of Paulchen’s Foodblog and her theme is Small Bites… just like my cakelets!
I would also love to share this with Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Mondays. This recipe is based on Fondant Châtaigne-Chocolat found in French Saveurs février 2011.
If you haven’t decided on that special dessert to offer your beloved on Valentine’s Day, I have two wonderful ideas on Huffington Post Food, a luxurious, sexy Tiramisù and a rich, decadent Flourless Chocolate Truffle Torte. Two amazing ways to say « I Love You ».
FONDANTS CHATAIGNE GANACHE AU CHOCOLATE
Chestnut Fondant Bundlets with Chocolate Ganache
Makes 12 mini Bundt cakes + 24 mini cupcakes
- or – 24 mini Bundt cakes – or – 24 cupcakes
(5.3 oz,150 g) chestnut flour
1.8 oz (50 g) cake flour
7.7 oz (220 g) sugar
¼ tsp salt
7 oz (200 g) unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
7/8 cup (200 ml) milk
Butter for greasing the tins, paper casings for lining muffin tins
3.6 oz (100 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream
Prepare the ganache by bringing the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan and then pouring it over the chopped chocolate in a heatproof (Pyrex) bowl. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and perfectly smooth. Leave to cool at room temperature.
Prepare the Chestnut Fondants:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously butter the Bundtlet tins and line the muffin tins with paper casings.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, removing from the heat when the butter is almost but not quite melted. Stir off of the heat until all of the butter is melted. Put aside to cool a bit.
In a large mixing bowl bowl, sift the chestnut flour with the cake flour then stir in the sugar and the salt. Whisk to combine.
Add the egg yolks to the dry ingredients and whisk, adding the butter as you blend. Add the milk and whisk until everything is well blended.
Using an electric mixer or beaters with very clean beaters, whip the whites until stiff peaks hold. Using a spatula, fold the beaten whites into the chestnut cake batter in thirds until the whites are completely blended in and no white chunks are visible. Do not overfold or you risk breaking the whites and losing the air.
Carefully fill the tins with batter filling up almost but not quite to the rims. To make this easier, you can either use a soup ladle or pour the batter into a large glass measuring cup with a spout or lip.
Bake the Bundlets for 20 minutes until puffed, set and just golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes or so in the tins before carefully lifting or turning them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
Before serving, drizzle the cooled chocolate ganache (thick but still pouring consistency) over the Bundlets and cupcakes.
If you prefer, you can fold about a cup (100 g) of mini chocolate chips into the batter instead of glazing with the ganache.