I am asked many questions when I give Seaweed Preparation Workshops, but one that seems to be on many people’s mind is whether seaweed can be used in desserts.
Some common misconceptions are that seaweed always has a strong, ‘fishy’ taste or that it really belongs to Asian cuisine or that its flavour combines best with seafood. It is a really interesting ingredients in dessert, and not just in the form of a jelly like agar or carrageenan; seaweed leaves may also be used in cakes, fruit salads or as crystallised or confit garnishes.
The added bonus where health is concerned, is that seaweed concentrates more nutrients than the land crops and that the nutrients are more easily absorbed.
The idea for the recipe below is inspired by Prannie Rhatigan’s Irish Seaweed Kitchen cookbook, but also includes crystallised ginger and uses a different base recipe for the fondant.
I have always loved the rich and strong flavour of dark chocolate so the idea of a pudding coming out of the oven oozing its creamy and intense flavour is pretty appealing, especially on a cool rainy night. This is a sumptuous dessert when served with a scoop of ice cream or fresh strawberries & cream.
Fondant is neither a cake or a mousse but something in the middle > a pudding with a hot and intense flavour, with a melting soft centre that has to be cooked just right to get the proper effect. The recipe that follows is pretty full proof but getting it right depends also on the size of the eggs, your oven, and the moulds you will use. I have used Dario moulds, which are small cylindrical metal or plastic containers with slightly sloping sides used for cooking puddings. You may also use ramekin if you have them on hand but you may have to try a couple of times to adjust the cooking time so is it absolutely perfect for your circumstances. The pudding has to be cooked enough so it doesn’t collapse, but not overcooked otherwise the centre is no longer runny.
Here’s the recipe:
(makes 4 perfect small fondants)
Note: these pudding will not wait around once cooked, but you can prepare everything ahead, even fill the moulds, and cook them when you are absolutely ready 🙂
60g unsalted butter, plus extra to coat the fondant moulds (a vegetarian spread will also work)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbsp Karengo flakes
20g crystalised ginger, grated coarse
1 egg (size 7) and one egg yolk
50g caster sugar (or vanilla sugar for extra flavour)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp plain flour (a gluten free flour mix for cakes will also work)
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C and put a baking tray on the middle shelf. Butter the inside of 4 ovenproof dario moulds (or ramekin), and coat with the cocoa.
Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water; make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the boiling water. Stir occasionally until melted. Allow to cool slightly. Add the karengo & the grated ginger and combine.
Whisk together the egg and the yolk, sugar and a pinch of salt until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate & butter mixture and then fold in the flour. Spoon into the prepared moulds, stopping just shy of the top.
Put the moulds on to the hot baking tray and cook for 12 minutes, until the tops are set and coming away from the sides of the moulds. Leave to rest for 30 seconds and then serve turn out on to plates, with thickened cream or plain ice cream and fresh strawberries.
There are many other lovely sweet concoctions that can be made using various seaweeds….re-hydrating seaweed in something sweet like a juice, tea or even liqueur, impart to them a flavour (and sometimes a colour) that is perfect for dessert. Stay tuned, more sweet recipes are coming 🙂