The Fail-Safe Fondant Dessert Kit (£19.99, www.lakeland.co.uk) consists of cuffed silicone cylindrical moulds with flexible counterpart tray. Discs of frozen filling are baked in batter, the differential heat equation approximating a molten sponge cake.
Because the fondant stop at a pudding party, the fun don’t st– it’s a … never mind. Just enjoy some chocolate pudding.
Ah, the formidable fondant. You may know her as moelleux au chocolat if you’re fancy, or choccie lava cake if you’re not. She is fickle, unknowable, a liability at a dinner party. In other words, she’s sexy. Will she show you her melting middle or collapse in a hot mess? I call the dish MasterChefs’ Mistake in tribute to the contestants slain by it. If only they’d had the Fail-Safe Fondant Dessert Kit, which “guarantees perfect puds”. How? By baking your mixture with coins of pre-frozen filling inside. In theory, the mix sets, the centre melts, and you’re left with a Trojan horse of oozy glory. Cunning.
But words like “guarantee”, “fail-safe” and “fool-proof” are red rags to a bull. I’ve got more fool in me than they know. I’m Fool Hand Luke, in a Fool Metal Jacket. If there’s a way to fail, I’ll find it. Sure enough, my first attempt is farcical. The tray of fillings is so floppy, carrying it is like balancing Maltesers on a skateboard. My desserts, seeping chocolate, fall apart when inverted; I’m left with broken sponge floating in a syrup ocean. I wouldn’t mind being so bad if I wasn’t also cheating. See, fondants are a concerto of texture and timing – these pre-frozen middles are a trick. They are, like technical cashmere or Ray Winstone attempting an accent, not quite the real deal.
But the faux-fondants do have one major advantage: a lava cake’s shell and centre are the same taste, at different consistencies. I have one terrible consistency, with very different tastes. White chocolate and raspberry ganache is delicious, as is vanilla centre in dark chocolate. I have plans with pistachio paste. There’s a lot of trial and error firming my batter, and I happily eat every error. It’s an edible swatch book of flavour combinations. So, not beautiful, or reliable, or classic; but it does make fondants fancier.