“If you are not feeling well, if you have not slept, chocolate will revive you. But you have no chocolate! I think of that again and again! My dear, how will you ever manage?”
~ Madame de Sévigné
I know, I know, it’s such a throwback to the 1970’s but Chocolate Mousse is one of those desserts that is a delectable eat, and it’s really not too tricky to make.
We had a writer friend pop in for an overnight stay last night on the way back from a visit with other friends down our way. Dinner was a simple barbeque – grilled steak, fresh green beans, garlicky mushrooms and some mash.
Dessert? I’m busy writing just now (okay, it’s an obsession) so I didn’t have time to make something ultra-fancy, and I had all the ingredients for mousse on hand. It took less than ten minutes to whip up the mousse, and about the same to make the praline. In fact, I multi-tasked and had the whole lot done and dusted in roughly fifteen minutes.
I decided to serve the mousse in small pretty tea-cups. It makes serving easy, and it’s good for portion control too. I know friends who make my recipe as four generous serves. I could never eat that much mousse! I prefer to portion this recipe so that it will give eight to ten small serves. If that’s way more mousse than you need it’s easy to halve the quantities in this recipe too. The mousse is rich, so a little goes a long way. (Although of course, you could go hard and eat more…) The taste is velvety smooth, chocolatey, but not too heavy and not too sweet.
In fact, I think this chocolate mousse would be the perfect romantic dessert for Valentine’s Day, if romance is your thing.
The mousse will keep in the fridge for three to four days, if it lasts that long. This dessert can easily be made gluten-free if you choose the appropriate chocolate, and if you use natvia or stevia instead of sugar, omit the alcohol and use a high cocoa (70% or higher) dark chocolate, it is also a low carb high fat (LCHF) dessert. Don’t add the praline for LCHF – choose some fresh berries, orange segments or a little grated dark chocolate instead.
250 grams good quality dark or milk chocolate (dark gives a richer flavour), 300ml of cream, 4 large eggs at room temperature, 2 tablespoons of caster sugar or your favourite sugar substitute, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract OR 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favourite liqueur – Kahlua, Tia Maria, Brandy, or Baileys all work well.
For this mousse I used a tablespoon of Kahlua in with the egg yolks, and another tablespoon over the beaten egg whites right at the end.
You’ll also want some extra whipped cream to serve.
Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Fill a small saucepan 1/3 full of water, and fit the bowl over the top. Place on low heat until the chocolate is melted. turn off heat and then remove bowl, being careful not to get any water or steam in the chocolate mix.
If necessary wipe the bowl to remove any water so that it doesn’t drip into the chocolate mixture, as that can cause it to seize (ie go hard and lumpy).
Scrape the melted chocolate into a large bowl and let cool a little.
Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into the empty bowl you melted the chocolate into. Add the vanilla or alcohol and beat well.
Place the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate and mix lightly. It may get very thick. That’s okay. Don’t panic.
Now beat the cream until soft peaks form. Then wash and dry the beaters and in another bowl whip the egg whites with the sugar and salt until peaks form and the egg white is fluffy and much raised in volume.
Gently fold the whipped cream through the chocolate mixture, mixing well so that the chocolate and cream are well amalgamated.
Then fold in the egg whites. Add an extra slurp of alcohol if you think it needs it. It might look really messy at first, but be gentle and patient – it will all come together.
Pour/spoon into one large serving dish, or smaller individual glasses or dishes. I used teacups because they are pretty and give a perfect serving size. Place in fridge for two hours to set.
1/2 cup of caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of cold water, 1/2 cup of flaked or slivered almonds
Arrange the almonds in a thin layer on some baking paper on a large tray.
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Raise heat to medium and let mixture boil without stirring for five to seven minutes or until it is a pale golden. Watch it – it can turn dark very quickly in the final stages. Immediately remove from heat. Toffee will continue to darken a little. Let sit for one to two minutes or until bubbles have subsided. Pour over almonds and leave to set.
Break into shards and store in an airtight container. Note: If you live in a place with high humidity do not leave on bench uncovered too long or toffee will become sticky.
Assembling your Mousse:
To serve, take a shard or two of praline and chop finely. Place a dollop of whipped cream on top of the mousse and a shard or two of praline. Then sprinkle a little of the chopped praline over the cream. Serve with a small spoon.