Here is the ultimate chocolate dessert for a special dinner. It's actually quite easy to prepare. The dessert can be prepared several hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Just bring the desserts back to room temperature and pop them in a preheated oven for a few minutes.
We have tried several recipes for warm chocolate cake, also know as" molten chocolate cake" but keep coming back to this recipe from Jean-George who created the dish in NYC. This undercooked chocolate cake that Jean-Georges refers to as "a mistake" has become one of the most popular and copied desserts in NY. When you cut into the brownie-like crust the warm chocolate pudding-like center should ooze out if correctly cooked.
For the warm chocolate cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus some for buttering the molds
4 squares (4 ounces) bittersweet Valrhona chocolate
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
For the ice cream
2 vanilla beans
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
For the Warm Chocolate Cake
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water until the chocolate is almost completely melted. While the mixture is heating, beat together the eggs, yolks and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.
2. Mix well the chocolate and butter mixture then pour into the egg mixture. Quickly beat in the flour until just combined.
3. Butter and lightly flour four four-ounce molds or ramekins. Tap out any excess flour. Repeat this process a second time. Divide the batter among the molds. At this point you can refrigerate the desserts for up to several hours. Just bring them back to room temperature before baking.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake the molds on a tray for 7 minutes. The outside of the desserts will be set, but the centers will still be quite soft.
5. Invert each mold on a plate and let sit for 10 seconds. Unfold by lifting slowly one side of the mold. The cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve alone or with ice cream of your choice.
Jean-Georges, Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef
Jean-Georges Vongericthen and Mark Bittman
Broadway Books, New York
For the Vanilla Ice Cream
Split the vanilla beans and scrape out the beans with the flat part of a knife in a small bowl. Keep the empty beans. Sprinkle some sugar over the vanilla mixture and mix together to separate all the beans. Add the remaining sugar and egg yolks and whisk the mixture till light in color.
Heat the milk in a saucepan and add the empty vanilla beans. Bring to a boil. Pour the boiling milk into the egg mixture constantly whisking the mixture vigorously. Return the mixture to the pan and thicken it over low heat constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon. Be careful at this point not to heat to far or the egg will start to solidify. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove empty vanilla beans and any other solids. Add mixture to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturing instructions.
The ice cream can be made several days ahead of time and stored in the freezer.
The Cuisine of Fredy Girardet
William Morrow and Company, New York
This video shows Jean George demonstrating to Mark Bittman how to make his famous molten chocolate cake.