Valentine’s Day is now just a few days away, so Louth chef Steven Bennett has shared with us one of his favourite sweet treats that is easy to make and is sure to get a thumbs up from your loved one.
Steven’s restaurant, The Comfy Duck based at The Oaklands Hall Hotel in Laceby, will see one of its busiest two days in the calendar year this weekend.
Steven said: “In the restaurant, we’ll be cooking 300 Valentine a la carte menus and 300 his and her afternoon teas at a minimum.
“Serving this many covers in the restaurant definitely doesn’t mean stepping down on quality.
“All of our menus are served using locally-sourced, seasonal produce from some of our favourite suppliers.
“For this sumptuous chocolate fondant, we’ll be using Duffy’s chocolate, a Lincolnshire chocolatier who tempers his chocolates to make sure each bar is just as snappy as the last.
“Take this dessert to the next level and dress it up with some homemade meringue kisses, strawberries, raspberries and cinder toffee and top with a generous helping of ice cream – you’ll have yourself a romantic sharing platter.
“This is something we do in the restaurant and it goes down a treat.”
Not everyone fancies a night on the tiles for Valentine’s Day due to cost constraints or not being able to get a baby sitter for the evening, so a lot of people choose to sit back, relax and take the opportunity to have a romantic meal at home.
And what better way to end the meal than by treating yourself to a delicious chocolate fondant.
See the recipe on this page, giving you a step-by-step guide on how to make it.
Steven added: “I’ll be enjoying this dessert with a bottle of Laurent Perrier Rose, not to everyone’s taste, but it’s my favourite champagne and always saved for a special occasion.
“If you want to impress your partner, head to your local butcher and ask for a slab of ribeye.
“Serve with homemade dauphine potatoes, some local Lincolnshire kale and homemade jus.
“To make sure your steak is cooked just as your partner likes it, I like to use the ‘hand method’.
“Clench your fist and fully loosen, press and this will be the consistency of rare, squeeze by half and this will give you medium, squeeze as tight as you can, and this will give you well done.
“Always rest for at least five minutes before serving.”
For more information on Steven’s recipes and the hospitality and catering services he provides, go online to www.thelincolnshirechef.com.
The recipe: Chocolate Fondant (makes 6-8) - Ingredients required: 200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces, 200g softened butter, 200g light brown sugar, 200g plain flour, 4 whole eggs, 4 extra egg yolks, cocoa powder for dusting and 50g butter for coating.
Start off by prepping your moulds. Using heatproof cups or ramekins smear a generous amount of butter around the whole of the inside and add a spoonful of cocoa powder, turning the cup to coat the buttered sides and bottom.
Tap away the excess cocoa powder and repeat with the rest of the cups.
Place a glass bowl over a pan of ‘barely’ simmering water and add the chocolate and butter.
Gently melt and combine together with a wooden spoon. Leave to cool whilst you get to work on the next part of the dish.
Take a large glass bowl and whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the flour into the egg & sugar mixture and fold together. Add the chocolate mixture to the mixture in thirds and fold together until fully combined.
Fill the cups 2/3 full with the chocolate mixture and place in the fridge for at least an hour. This can be done the morning or day before serving. Remove from the fridge and place in a 180ºc fan assisted oven and bake for around 10-12 minutes until the tops of the fondant have formed a crust.
Remove from the oven and sit to one side for 1 minute before tipping them from their moulds.
To serve, carefully tap the fondant out of its mould and place on a plate adding a dollop of crème fraiche or a scoop of your favourite ice cream.