I’ve never made a mousse before – if anyone else is in the same position, I can highly recommend following this user generated recipe from Nigella Lawson’s site. It was easy to make – in fact I didn’t prepare it until I got home from work around half past six, and served it up as dessert about half past eight. It took very little time to put together; you melt some chocolate, whip up an egg white and some double cream, mix the lot together and chill. I halved the recipe and it made two big portions. It is a very sweet mousse, as you might expect, so another time I’d consider adding a pinch of salt. The only addition I made to the recipe was to finely chop five basil leaves and stir them through the mousse before chilling. Basil and chocolate is a great combination in the right proportions. I think a basil syrup might have been better, to get the flavour distributed more evenly, but this worked out well for a last minute decision. It’s just important not to over-do it – basil and chocolate pesto isn’t what you’re aiming for. Except now that I say it, maybe it is… I sense an experiment coming on.
I served it with a rhubarb, raspberry and mint coulis. It’s confession time again: I had intended to make a rhubarb and raspberry crumble, but it went somewhat wrong. I’ve never made a rhubarb crumble before, and I thought I could stew up the fruit with some sugar, then it would be quick to toast up a crumble topping and serve. What really happened was that the fruit disintegrated into a slightly stringy and very watery mess. I added enough jam sugar to thicken and sweeten it a little and abandoned all thoughts of using it as anything other than a sauce.
The tartness of the fruit offset the sweet white chocolate, which was what I’d intended in the first place, though the crunch of an oaty crumble topping was missed. In a concession to Valentines Day (which I have mixed feelings about), I froze the mousse that wouldn’t fit into the two ramekins into little hearts, using my chocolate mould. This worked really well, giving tiny ice cream hearts without the hardship of churning or the offputting crunch of stray ice crystals. It would have worked even better if I’d remembered about them before we started eating dessert.
I’ll definitely make ice cream this way again – the texture isn’t exactly the same, and my literal approach to recipe naming will insist that I describe it as frozen mousse, but it’s opened up some possibilities and ideas. These little hearts would also be great as frozen chocolates, drizzled with melted dark chocolate and re-frozen, or I wonder how they’d stand up to chocolate fondue? There’s really only one way to find out…