Monday, 8 October 2012
Chocolate and Chilli Mousse
A sixties bistro classic, chocolate mousse has endured the vagaries of culinary fashion to become a perennial favourite. This is a classic version with a modern twist in the form of chilli.
I've tried lots of recipes for chocolate mousse over the years, some with butter, others with cream, but I don't think you can beat the simplicity of the original French version - just chocolate and eggs. You can add any flavours you like to this basic recipe - vanilla, coffee, brandy, it's really up to you. I personally love the subtle kick of chilli that comes through the intense, rich chocolate.
This is the one place that I don't use chocolate with more than 70% cocoa solids as it is much harder to incorporate into the egg whites and has a tendency to turn grainy. In fact I find that a dark chocolate with about 50% cocoa solids is about right here - it mixes in perfectly and the extra sweetness works well because the recipe doesn't include any sugar.
I love this with some extra thick double cream spooned over the top - the bland, cool cream is a perfect foil for the rich, spicy mousse.
RECIPE - serves 4 normal-sized portions or 8 mini ones (see photo)
200g dark chocolate (see note above)
4 eggs, separated
a pinch of chilli flakes (see note above)
Begin by melting the chocolate. You can do this in the microwave (just go gently) or in the traditional way by breaking the chocolate into pieces and putting in a bowl over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate begins to melt, turn the heat off. Stir until smooth.
Beat the egg yolks and add them to the melted chocolate while it's still hot. Mix thoroughly. At this point you can add the chilli flakes or any other flavours you're using.
Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks. Spoon about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix and whisk in. Fold the rest very gently into the mixture until just combined (be careful not to overmix), and then put into bowls or glasses and refrigerate for at least four hours until set.