“What’s more delicious than a pot of velvety chocolate mousse?” I asked J, my 5 year old daughter. She looked puzzled, not that she didn’t understand me, but that it was already quite up there on her ‘best food moments’ list I think.
“One decorated with all sorts of chocolatey bites and pearls, perhaps?” I offered and her eyes lit up like the time she got Movenpick ice cream at a buffet and realised she could go back for more.
“Yes!!!!” She said, grabbing onto my arm and shaking it excitedly, “we could put those little pearls and even gummies!”
Next, we were both in the pantry looking for all sorts of things to use to decorate our little pots of black gold…
I gave J creative freedom to do what she wanted to the pots while trying to explain the concept of ‘less is more’ – I think I failed. I must be kidding myself to think I could persuade a 5 year old to put less chocolate on!
(After thought – for adult versions, do exercise control over how much more chocolate you add. As the mousse is already quite sweet, adding too many more sweet elements to it may just tip the balance!)
250g nice biscuits, blitzed into crumbs
125g unsalted butter, melted
Hazelnut spread layer
Leoine or Nutella hazelnut spread
180g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
170g unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee (optional)
4 large eggs, separated
4 + 1 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) (or use Cointreau for orange-flavoured mousse)
Textural component / Decoration (optional)
- Valrhona chocolate pearls (for crunch)
- Dark or milk chocolate squares – for artistic/structural representation
- Chocolate spheres – I used ones with blueberry pieces in it
- Candy gems – for texture and children (or the young at heart)
- Edible soil – cocoa powder or blitzed chocolate biscuits
- Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder – for colour and taste contrast
1. Mix the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs. Divide into serving bowls or pots and push with finger tips to form a firm base. Place in fridge to firm up.
2. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate and Frangelico (also add coffee now if you are using), stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Add the cubed butter in and mix gently. Remove from heat.
3. Beat the yolks of the eggs with 4 tablespoons of sugar for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick.
4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. Let it cool.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff.
6. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites until just incorporated.
7. Remove your serving bowls from the fridge. Spread hazelnut chocolate (I used Leoine, you can use Nutella if you wish) onto the surface of the crumb layer.
8. Pour the mousse into the serving bowls, layering alternately with a biscuit crumb layer and more mousse.
9. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.
10. Add your textural components before serving – I’ve chosen chocolate squares, pearls, biscuit crumbs, blueberry-in-chocolate balls and freeze dried raspberry powder for added taste and textural comparison. The sharpness of the raspberry powder cuts through the sweetness of the mousse which is my 5% magic for this mouth watering dessert. (Why oh why am I giving this away?!?!?!)
11. These are served in tiny pots here, you can equally plate them in larger vessels. Trust me, no one will complain!