I love making desserts but I tend not to make them very often. I suppose that is how it should be, desserts are a treat. That doesn’t stop me dreaming about them however! I am one of those people who would rather a small taste of something decadent rather than an overflowing plate of sugar (which is often what arrives here in the US!) I first tasted this stunning dessert on our last night at Ballymaloe. Devised by the wonderful Rory O’Connell, who is all about refined simplicity, this dessert reflects that perfectly. The chocolate must be dark, as does the caramel, in order to ensure the flavors pop in a small portion. Since that evening, I have been dying to give it a try and finally I got around to it.
These dainty espresso cups we received as a wedding gift were the perfect portion size for my tastes at least. I added a sprinkle of some flaked sea salt to the top of each pot and served them with a Breton sable biscuit for a bit of crunch. While this recipe may take a little work, it is absolutely worth every effort. If you would like to see Rory himself Master it, this featured on his show “How to Cook Well” broadcast on Irish TV. Click here to watch the episode with the chocolate and caramel mousse. Even if you don’t make the recipe, I am sure you will enjoy the show.
Rory O’COnNELL’S Chocolate and Caramel Mousse:
Adapted from Master It! by Rory O’Connell
- 225g dark chocolate (65 or 70%), chopped into pieces
- 50g butter, diced
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g granulated or caster sugar
- 225ml water
- Place the chocolate and butter into bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of cold water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
- Bring the water to a simmer over a low to medium heat and then turn off the heat. The butter and chocolate will melt in the residual heat.
- Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a clean bowl for whisking later.
- Whisk the yolks to a pale mousse. This is easiest using a stand mixer as you will whisk hot caramel in later.
- Meanwhile, make the caramel. Put the sugar and 125ml of the water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and place on a low heat.
- Stir the caramel occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once the liquid comes to a boil, remove the spoon and do not stir again as the sugar may crystallize.
- The caramel mixture will become syrup like and gradually darken. If the color is patchy, swirl the pan but DO NOT STIR! Hold your nerve, you want a dark chestnut coloured caramel.
- Once you have reached a dark color, turn off the heat and immediately add the remaining 100ml of water – stand back as your pour, it splutters easily!
- Cook it until it thickens again and when you dip a spoon into the caramel and allow it to drop off the spoon, it will fall in a thickish thread. Pour this slowly on to the whisked egg yolks, whisking all of the time. I use my Kitchenaid for this. Keep whisking until you have a wonderful fluffy mousse.
- Stir the melted chocolate and vanilla extract gently into the mousse, ensuring it is evenly distributed.
- Now whisk the egg white to stiff peaks. Stir the first third of the egg white into the mousse, ensuring it is all combines. Gently fold the remaining egg white into the mixture, taking care not to knock all the air out but still making sure it is well combined.
- Divide between six serving dishes or place into one large dish. Pop in the fridge for at least 4 hours although this is even better made the day before. Serve with pouring cream and something to add a little crunch!