It's good to have a quick dessert that can be whipped up in a few minutes when you have company over during the week. You won't find that many people who decide to bake a huge, decorated layer cake on a weeknight, because usually, weekdays are busy.
Take me, for example. I have class until 6:30 on Mondays, and until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. Busy schedule, right? Let's not mention that I don't have class on mornings. Oh, and starting March 10th, my school week will officially end on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Admittedly, if I really wanted to I could bake a five-tier layer cake and decorate it on a weeknight. So this idea of a "quick weeknight dessert" doesn't really apply to me right now, but it will starting this summer when I actually start working, so I'm getting a head start.
There's no better way of getting that early start than making a fondant, the lava-cake-type dessert that every single French person seems to adore. Step into any restaurant and look at the menu: I can practically guarantee you'll see the words "moelleux" or "fondant" somewhere around there. Usually, a fondant au chocolat is made with dark chocolate, the stronger the better. But in this case, the cake is more reminiscent of Nutella--and I don't think anyone has ever complained about Nutella, right? Instead of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and whole hazelnuts come together for a dessert that's simple to make and deeply satisfying. One word of caution: you'll have to watch the oven pretty closely, because baking time varies depending on how you like your cake. Liquid in the center? Stick with 12 minutes, and if you want it to be gooey, go with 20. In any case, this is really a company-worthy dessert, whether you have a half hour to make it or a half day. And if you don't have company, make it anyway: more of the gooey center for you.
Texture of the day: semi-gooey
Fondant aux Noisettes : Gooey Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
7 oz. (200g) milk chocolate
3.5 TB (50g) cornstarch
1/2 c.(100g) granulated sugar
7 TB (100g) unsalted butter
3.5 oz., or 1/2 c.(100g) whole hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 320°F / 160°C.
Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler.
Meanwhile, beat eggs and sugar until light in color, and add cornstarch. Combine with butter-chocolate mixture and hazelnuts.
Pour into a buttered 8x8-inch or rectangular pan (9x13 might be too large, I used 20x15 centimeters) and bake anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the texture you want.
Let cake cool completely before serving. (If you only cool it slightly, it'll be delicious, but even more filling)