Chocolate mousse… the first dessert I ever truly fell in love with. I remember having my first restaurant experience (we’re talking 80’s here folks) when chocolate mousse was on every dessert menu and totally ‘de rigueur’.
And while other trendy desserts may have stolen the limelight since then, chocolate mousse remains the quiet, elegant dessert that never quite goes out of fashion and certainly never fails to impress, or satisfy.
I’ve made a classic chocolate mousse before, of course, combining the staple chocolate, egg yolks, butter and cream. This one, though, offers something just a little different – with its addition of billowing egg whites (essentially a pavlova mix) making for a lighter, more aerated mousse.
Then there’s the divine hit of intense orange I introduced this time around, thanks to some beautiful plump oranges I spotted in the supermarket through the week. Of course, if you’d prefer an adult’s orange chocolate mousse, you can always use some orange liqueur instead of juice and zest – simply add a tablespoon or so of liqueur to the melted chocolate to taste.
I didn’t use a specific recipe as such, but cobbled this baby together after looking through a few different recipes, and making some alterations based on taste. I’m really happy with the result and I hope you are too! Enjoy!
- 200g (7 oz) dark eating chocolate, chopped (I used 60% cocoa)
- 25g (0.88 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup cream
- Juice of half an orange
- Zest of one orange (about a tablespoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 150ml (5 fl oz) heavy cream
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- Whipped cream, to serve (optional: add a little icing sugar and vanilla essence to flavour)
- 1 orange
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- Optional: Extra sugar to sprinkle
- Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water doesn't reach the bottom of the bowl. Add the butter, cream, orange juice and zest, vanilla and salt. Stir until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until the chocolate is smooth. Let it cool for about 10 minutes.
- While the chocolate is cooling, beat the cream in a small bowl to soft peaks (be careful not to overwhip) and put aside.
- Beat the egg yolks in another small bowl until thick and pale and put aside.
- Rinse the beaters and dry them thoroughly. Then, in a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites at a fairly low speed until they form soft peaks, then turn up the speed and, while continuing to beat, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy, and the sugar is dissolved (test by rubbing some of the mixture between your fingers - there should be no grainy sugar granules). Put aside.
- Now, stir the egg yolks into the cooled chocolate mixture, until well blended.
- Then, using a large spatula, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, until combined.
- Finally, gently fold(trying not to knock out the air) the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, until it is just combined and you no longer see white streaks.
- Spoon the mousse in large dollops into 6 serving glasses and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
- Serve with a dollop of (or piped) sweetened whipped cream and a few pieces of candied orange strips (see recipe below).
- Peel strips of zest from an orange and slice into thin matchstick sized strips.
- Place in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil. Strain off the water, then repeat the process and drain. Then add 1/3 cup each of sugar and water, bring to the boil, and simmer strips gently for 15 minutes.
- Place strips on a baking paper lined oven tray (keep them separate or they will stick together) and place in an oven at 90C (190F) for 5-10 minutes, or until the strips are no longer sticky (NB: You can, if you like, sprinkle extra sugar over the orange strips just prior to putting them into the oven. And, you can also shape the strips prior to them setting, if you don't want them straight). Place on the counter and allow to cool.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting