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Chocolate desserts usually call for expert cooking skills: how to hit that fleeting moment between a wonderfully squidgy brownie and a dry cake. How long to freeze your fondant for to get that perfect runny centre with the firm outside. How to keep a soufflé from collapsing, or, let me rephrase: how to MAKE a soufflé.
Take one of the best loved chocolate concoctions in my house, the sponge roulade log: tricky not to overbake, trickier to roll up, unroll, fill and roll back up; that involves a construction made of several mugs and a damp tea towel. And don’t start me off on melting white chocolate – blink, and it splits; it splits even if you don’t blink.
Chocolate mousse – or ‘mouse’ as I always think about it after the eponymous dessert fed to Rosemary – is more often than not an elaborate eggy, custardy or raw-meringuey product. Not so this little thing: this is an astonishingly simple and easy to prepare pudding, very well suited for a Valentine’s Day supper for example; or an anniversary, birthday or any special night you want to finish with a bit of artisan chocolate production.
I’m offering the grownup version here: darkest chocolate, Grand Marnier; but it’s made just as well with milk chocolate and no alcohol, or even white chocolate (skip sugar in both cases). And it’s a recipe that even the least apt cookery dabbler, of either gender, can master.
chocolate mousseServings: 2Time: 10 minutes plus chilling
- 250ml (1 cup) double cream
- 2 tsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp. Grand Marnier or triple sec (or good quality orange essence)
- 150g (5oz) dark chocolate 70% cocoa
- chocolate shavings, for decorating
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and set aside.
2. On the hob: place the cream in a small pan, stir in the icing sugar and the liqueur or essence and bring to the boil. Immediately add the chocolate and take off the heat.
3. In the microwave: place the cream in a bowl, stir in the icing sugar and the liqueur or essence and microwave on full power for about 2 minutes, until it starts to boil. Immediately add the chocolate and remove the bowl from the microwave.
4. Let the mixture stand for a minute, then stir it until blended. Cool down and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
5. When completely cold, whip the mixture gently with an electric mixer on low speed or with a hand whisk – it will not take long at all. Stop when the mousse lightens in colour and starts to thicken – don’t over whip.
6. Spoon or pipe it into serving bowls or shot glasses and decorate with chocolate curls or shavings.