Molten Chocolate Cakes with Tangerine Ice Cream

The bones of this recipe, that is to say, the chocolate cake, is adapted from perhaps one of the most borrowed recipes in the pastry world.  The flourless chocolate cake by famed pastry chef, Michel Gras;  the flavorings and accompanying tangerine ice cream spring from this fabulous foundation.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced + more for greasing
  • 3.5 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • zest 1 orange
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2- 6 ounce ramekins
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • zest 1 tangerine
  • 8 mandarin orange wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Cointreau
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • rind of 1 orange, thinly shaved and cut into symmetrical strips.
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon sweet cream butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and butter the two ramekins.
  2. Melt chocolate and the butter in a pan set over barely simmering water.  Stir occasionally until very smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolk with a pinch of kosher salt. Add the orange zest.
  4. Beat egg white until it holds stiff white peaks.  Add the sugar and whisk until you have glossy firm peaks. 
  5. Fold the chocolate into the egg white.
  6. Divide the batter between the ramekins.  Cover each dish with aluminum foil and crimp tightly around the edge.  Place in a roasting pan.  Pour in enough boiling water into the pan until the water reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake puddings until they are just set, about 30 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving.

Now, prepare the mandarin oranges and the orange rind.  Pour the sugar, Cointreau and water into a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Melt the sugar, swirling the pan to make sure it doesn’t stick and burn.  Bring to a boil.  Add the rind and boil for 1 minute.  Remove the rind with the tines of a fork and transfer to a wire rack set over a pan, to dry.   Remove the syrup from the heat and then add the mandarin wedges.  Allow the wedges to poach in the juices of the syrup for 20 minutes. 

Melt the butter and the chocolate in the double boiler.  Dip on half of the orange rind slices in the chocolate and then transfer to parchment paper to set.

Allow the ice cream to soften on the counter.  Zest the tangerine into the ice cream; stir just enough to incorporate.  Immediately return the ice cream to the freezer. Shape the ice cream into quenelles by rolling the ice cream between two large spoon.

Place one quenelle over one of the chocolate cakes and garnish with the candied orange slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 2