A & C Cook: Chocolate Mousse

Every year we have the same friends (old flatmates) round for Christmas dinner, but due to unavailability of a pair of them around the end of 2017, we put it off until around Easter. We always aim to make something fun and interesting for the dessert, and this year was no egg-ception (geddit!).

We didn’t have heaps of time and we weren’t in the mood to make a really stodgy dessert like a crumble as the weather was too fine, so we decided to rustle up a quick chocolate mousse for our guests. This is a dessert to have in your back pocket; it can be made very quickly from store cupboard ingredients, so we believe it's the sort of thing that any self-respecting home cook should know how to do.

An egg-cellent dessert

On this occasion, we took Raymond Blanc’s recipe, and tweaked it a little bit (the full recipe and a link to the original is below). The base of the mouse was all Raymond, but A is quite particular when he is cooking with chocolate and will only use Menier - “accept no substitute”, he always says.

The history of the Menier chocolate company is interesting in itself and we could digress on it at length. For our purposes though, suffice it to say that it’s an old and distinguished brand of French cooking chocolate whose original recipe was created by a pharmacist as a health food (how times have changed!). It's very strong and packs some serious chocolatiness when used in a mousse.

Egg-citing stuff!

We also mixed in a surprise in the form of some popping candy. The result was that the mousse was unctuous and prickly on the tongue. A real bit of fun.

To decorate, we used a trio of mini eggs and a pipe-cleaner chick courtesy of Waitrose. The result was, we felt, a fun and fuss-free Easter dessert, which took all of 10 minutes to make and 2 hours of chilling time to set. I’m sure we’ll be doing these again.

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Adapted recipe 
(the original is here)


Serves 4 (or 6 smaller ones)

Ingredients
170g/6oz Menier chocolate, roughly chopped
7 egg whites
¼ tsp lemon juice
40g/1½oz caster sugar
4 tsp, popping candy

Method
  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water).
  • Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a large, clean bowl until they form soft peaks. The lemon juice will stabilise the egg whites, make them easier to work with and help to prevent over-whisking.
  • Add the sugar and continue to whisk until firm peaks form when the whisk is removed. Do not whisk beyond this stage - the egg whites will start to collapse and separate into dry froth and runny liquid, and you'll lose all the air that you've whisked in.
  • When the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk one-third of the egg whites into the hot chocolate quickly and vigorously, until thick and well combined - if you add the egg whites in too slowly, their cold temperature can make the hot chocolate seize, solidify and result in a lumpy mousse.
  • Fold the remaining egg whites and the popping candy into the chocolate mixture, using a spatula, until all of the egg white has been completely incorporated into the chocolate. Don't overmix at this stage as you'll knock out the air bubbles and the mousse will be dense.
  • Spoon the mousse mixture into individual glasses. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or until set.


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