Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Recipe: Last Minute Charbonnel et Walker Hot Chocolate Fondue

This was supposed to be a blog post about hot chocolate ice cream. I have a recipe for hot chocolate ice cream, where you make up a classic hot chocolate mix on the stove and then churn it into the most incredible chocolate ice cream. I made it the other week with the hot chocolate the team at traditional English chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker sent me, with one of their milk chocolate bars chopped up to make indulgent chips. It was absolutely delicious on the first day. But when I went to shoot the ice cream again (I was not happy with the first set of pictures I took) I discovered that simply by being left in the freezer for 10 days my delicious chocolate treat had turned somewhat grainy and inedible.
Last Minute Charbonnel et Walker Hot Chocolate Fondue with Summer Fruits
Last Minute Charbonnel et Walker Hot Chocolate Fondue
I have a degree in English Literature, not something fancy like the Biological Sciences degree one of my friends graduated with. Sometimes something that should have been obvious in science, that the volumes of soya lecithin in this particular hot chocolate would cause a disaster when frozen for longer than 24 hours, doesn't initially occur to me. However, trial and error is the best way to learn I've found, and an ice cream that does not freeze well can never be a good thing. While I'm not giving up, I still had some cream in the fridge, and a whole load of chocolate and hot chocolate from Charbonnel. The ice cream base was so delicious and indulgent even before freezing, and there are so many great soft fruits that pair perfectly with chocolate coming out of our vegetable garden here on the farm at the moment.
Last Minute Charbonnel et Walker Hot Chocolate Fondue Ingredients Charbonnel et Walker Hot Chocolate Fondue
You can use any type of cream that you happen to have in your fridge; this recipe is great for using up a stray half a pot. Double cream, single cream and American half and half will all work, heated into a smooth hot chocolate in a milk pan and enriched with grated chocolate melted in at the end. I went raspberry picking in the fruit cage on Friday night before the rain started, and these were the leftover fruits that did not make it into the raspberry crumble I made as a Friday night treat.
Summer Fruit Last Minute Charbonnel et Walker Hot Chocolate Fondue
I'd recommend that two people share this as a dessert, and with the rich darker chocolate, it is really for grown ups! I just served this as a small bowl as it is more of a last minute dessert idea but if you want a desert for friends you can serve this on a much bigger scale by just scaling up the recipe to serve however many people you have coming over, and with your favourite chocolate fondue dipping items.

Gently warm the cream in a small milk saucepan over a medium heat. Once it is hot to the touch, whisk in the hot chocolate until the mixture is smooth and there are no discernible chocolate flecks. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated chocolate until all the pieces have melted and the chocolate is smooth. Serve immediately with a selection of different Summer fruits to dip. If you don't have any fondue forks (I kidnapped these out of a set my parents were given when they got married), you can either pick up a couple here, or use bamboo barbecue skewers. 

While this chocolate sauce is suitable all year around, I'd particularly recommend it as something to follow a dinner outside, using whatever fresh and local fruit you can pick up throughout the Summer. If you're looking for more Summer dessert ideas, may I recommend my Warm Peaches with Basil and Honey or my S'mores Barbecue Bananas?  

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