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.