This is what can be best described as a ‘Steampunk’ recipe, combining the best modern recipe ideas with the flavours and traditions of the old Victorian world (1800s). Dark, bitter Chocolate and Porter Ale (a dark ale or stout) go magically well together, while a hot fondant pudding, with a cold creamy ice-cream, (and a crunchy Brandy Snap) is also a wonderful marriage of opposites. This maybe a slightly daring recipe on paper, and an excellent Valentine’s Day treat or romantic dessert, rich, gooey and indulgent, but it is actually a very solid and traditional combination of flavours and textures.
What Is A Steampunked Recipe? Dark Chocolate and Porter Ale were hugely popular in the 1800s, as were puddings and ice-cream’s, and this modern marriage brings them together and right up to date. The thought processes in which Steampunk innovations of today are created often involve looking at an era when steam power was widely used, (usually the 19th century, and most often conjuring up images of Victorian Britain) but also a place where ideas incorporate prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of Steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations such as Victorians like Jules Verne or H.G. Wells may have envisioned them; in other words, modern ideas based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc.
Porter is an old fashioned dark ale or beer, still sold by specialist breweries today. In the early Victorian Period a strong porter ale (beer) was called “Extra Porter” or “Double Porter” or “Stout Porter” and the term “Stout Porter” would later be shortened to just “Stout” (like a Guinness).
Steampunk Chocolate Fondant Pudding With Porter Ice-cream
makes enough for 6 portions
For The Porter Ice-cream
- 600ml Porter Ale (Fuller’s London Porter or a stout like Guinness)
- 150ml milk
- 450ml double (heavy) cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 6 egg yolks
- 125g caster sugar
Note: if freezing the ice-cream without an ice-cream machine add 2 tbsp of arrowroot
For The Chocolate Fondant Puddings
- 225g dark chocolate (min 70%)
- 225g butter (unsalted)
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 90g caster sugar
- 25g plain flour
- extra butter (softened) and chocolate (finely grated) to line the fondant moulds
- brandy snaps: Brandy Snap Recipe
Make the ice-cream:
Into a heavy based saucepan pour the Porter ale (or stout), bring it up to the boil and simmer on a medium heat until it is reduced greatly (600ml of liquid down to about 150ml).
Into another heavy based saucepan pour the milk and cream and add the vanilla pod (split the vanilla pod lengthways before adding). Bring this up to the boil, simmer for two minutes, then turn off the heat and leave so the vanilla can infuse and flavour the milk and cream.
In a large mixing bowl beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar, until pale and thick. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and cream and pour this mixture on to the beaten eggs and sugar, a little at a time and whisking as you do so.
After mixing pour the eggs, sugar, milk and cream back into the saucepan and over a low heat gently simmer this liquid until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Make sure you constantly stir, and do not let it boil, otherwise it will curdle, split or become lumpy.
Once thickened pour this back into the mixing bowl (through a sieve) and then stir in the thickened and reduced Porter ale (or stout). Leave to cool, stir occasionally, then put it in the fridge to chill.
Recommended: to make the ice cream use an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions for the machine with the chilled Porter ice-cream mixture – this guarantees to make a smooth and luxurious ice-cream.
Freezing ice cream without an ice-cream maker: add 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder into the milk and cream as it is being gently heated, (mix it into a paste with a little water first) arrowroot reduces the process of large crystals forming when freezing. When made pour the chilled Porter ice-cream mixture into a shallow plastic tub or other shallow container and freeze, make sure you whisk the mixture every hour as it freezes to break up any larger crystals forming and also add into the mixture some air to lighten it, if not done carefully the ice-cream can become grainy when frozen.
Make the fondant puddings:
Lightly butter inside 6 dariole moulds 6cm high (or 6 small souffle moulds). Finely grate some of the dark chocolate and sprinkle it in to lightly coat the inside of the moulds, the grated chocolate will stick to the butter.
Put a saucepan on to a medium heat with a few inches of water in it. Over this place a heat-proof mixing bowl so that it sits comfortably in the saucepan but without it touching the water, it should be heated only by the rising steam.
Break up the dark chocolate and add it to the heated bowl with the butter. The chocolate and butter should gently melt from the steam under the bowl – stir it from time to time. Once melted turn off the heat, but keep the melted chocolate above the hot water to keep it warm.
Into the melted chocolate and butter whisk in the sugar and then the whole eggs and egg yolks together. The mixture should triple in size as you whisk. Add the flour, and then using a folding motion carefully fold the chocolate so that it fully mixes and traps some air at the same time.
Equally divide the chocolate mixture between the prepared dariole moulds and chill them in the fridge for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C
After 40 minutes bake the chocolate fondant puddings in the oven at 190C for 8 to 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for 1 minute – they should still be molten and gooey in the centre. Run a fine palette knife between the edges of the mould and the fondant pudding, to fully loosen them, then quickly and carefully invert the moulds onto small serving plates to turn the Chocolate Fondant Puddings out.
Serve the hot Chocolate Fondant Puddings with a large scoop of creamy Porter Ale Ice-cream and a Brandy Snap.