What I've heard about this recipe is it was created by Chef Joel Robachen of Jamoin in Paris for Valrhona Chocolate Company. He taught it to Jean-Georges Vongerichten and I learned it from one of his sous chefs who worked for me in London at the Criterion Brasserie. It's basically an under baked cake sp the batter is just raw in the center, though when I worked at Charlie Trotter's we placed a thin layer of chocolate sponge cake on the bottom and placed on that balls of ganache to stuff in the center to assure a wet lava effect when you cut into the cake, then surrounded the whole thing with the cake batter.
Make the Cakes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease the tins and set aside.
In a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, and sugar. Whisk the egg mixture into chocolate mixture; then whisk in the flour.
Fill the tins with the batter and bake for 4 to 5 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate the cakes until ready to bake, up to a day in advance. If baking cold, do so for 5 to 6 minutes.)
Paint the bottoms of several shallow soup plates with the chocolate bergamont paint. Immediately unmold the cakes onto the plates. Place a pinch of cocoa nibs beside each cake (as a small stand for the ice cream), and place a scoop of star anise ice cream on top of each. Drizzle the citrus reduction around each plate and dust with confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder.
Chocolate Bergamot Paint:
4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup brewed tea (recommended: Earl Grey)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
In the top half of a double boiler, combine the 2 chocolates over simmering water. Stir constantly until melted; then whisk in the tea and syrup, without removing the double boiler from the heat. Whisk until smooth and shiny.
If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a touch of hot water. Using a brush, paint the sauce onto plate before serving.
(The sauce can be made up to 48 hours in advance and refrigerated. To rewarm, stir over low heat or heat in a microwave.)
Yield: approximately 1 1/4 cups
Star Anise Ice Cream:
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups heavy cream
1 heaping tablespoon star anise pieces
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick
9 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half, cream, star anise, ground cinnamon, vanilla, and cinnamon stick, whisking occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. When the cream mixture reaches a fast simmer (do not let it boil), turn off the heat and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. In a thin stream, whisk half of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan containing the rest of the cream mixture.
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. At 160 degrees, the mixture will give off a puff of steam. When the mixture reaches 180 degrees it will be thickened and creamy, like eggnog. If you don't have a thermometer, test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the mixture. Run your finger down the back of the spoon. If the stripe remains clear, the mixture is ready; if the edges blur, the mixture is not quite thick enough yet. When it is ready, quickly remove it from the heat.
Meanwhile, put 2 handfuls of ice cubes in a large bowl, and add enough cold water to cover. Rest a smaller bowl in the ice water. Pour the cream mixture through a fine sieve into the smaller bowl, to remove the vanilla bean pieces and cinnamon sticks. Chill 3 hours; then freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions
Yield: 1 quart
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup corn syrup
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on low until reduced to a thick syrup. Chill before using.
Yield: approximately 1/3 cup
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