Last weekend James and I hosted another Sackett sibling get together and this is what I made for the dessert. It is a Rachel Khoo recipe which I had been wanting to try for a while, but couldn’t get my hands on some cocoa nibs. I eventually managed to get them from Whole Foods and I would suggest that if you can get them, definitely try and use them in this dessert as they add a nice bitterness and texture contrast against the sweet, silky smooth mousse. Rachel suggests using chopped nuts dusted in cocoa powder if you can’t find them. The recipe was actually a lot more complex than your average mousse; I even made my first ever crème pâtissière which I was very proud of and even more shocked that it didn’t go wrong! You can make these on the morning of the day before your guests arrive and I presented them in some pretty china cups instead of glasses which gave them a vintage-chic feel.
- For the crème pâtissière
3 free-range egg, yolks only
50g/2oz caster sugar
250ml/9fl oz whole milk
1 heaped tbsp unsweetened coca powder
- For the chocolate meringue
3 free-range eggs, whites only
50g/2oz icing sugar
couple drops lemon juice
pinch of salt
150g/5½oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz whipping cream
- For the crème pâtissière, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and thick, then whisk in the cornflower.
- Add the cocoa powder to the milk and bring to a boil then switch off the heat.
- Pour the milk in a slow stream onto the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time. (Pour slowly to avoid scrambling the egg.)
- Return the mixture to a clean pot over a medium heat and whisk continuously. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom, otherwise it will burn.
- The cream will start to thicken. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
- Pour into a shallow bowl. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on to the cream) and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.
- For the meringue, put half the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until white.
- Add the rest of the egg whites and continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks when the whisk is removed.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie (a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water) or in the microwave on a low setting.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
- To make the mousse, beat the chilled crème pâtissière to remove any lumps before stirring in the melted chocolate. Mix in one third of the meringue, then gently fold in the rest followed by the whipped cream.
- To serve, brush 4-6 glasses or ramekins with soft butter. Add some cocoa nibs and roll them around the sides and bottom of the glasses until evenly coated.
- Divide the mousse between the glasses and chill for at least an hour, but ideally four hours. Serve chilled, sprinkled with cocoa nibs. The mousse is best eaten the same day and should not be kept for more than two days (due to the raw egg whites).