Sunday, 8 June 2014

Light chocolate mousse with shiny cocoa glaze

Light chocolate mousse with shiny cocoa glaze

I think that any special dinner, be it a birthday or anniversary for one member of the family, a formal occasion, a dinner with guests, or even the simple wish of having a special meal, deserves to be closed with a dessert; but I don't mean some scoops of ice-cream or an industrial cake well presented on a beautiful plate. I mean a real dessert, home-made with the same care reserved to all the other courses of the dinner. In fact, since dessert comes at the end of a meal, sometimes we don't give it the right attention, thinking that after many other good things it may be superfluous; but it is not: a good dessert, at the end of a special dinner, is the piece necessary to complete the puzzle. But of course it must be coherent with the rest of dinner, as well as all the dinner must be conceived so that guests can enjoy all the courses and do not arrive at the end feeling too full to have also a dessert. If a four layer chocolate cake with butter-cream frosting comes to the table after an assortment of appetizers, followed by grilled sausages and ribs, stuffed roasted turkey with french fries and mixed sauces, one cannot expect that guests crave nothing else but a generous slice of it!
Today I want to present a dessert which I consider perfect for several occasions: from a romantic dinner, to a formal invitation, to a buffet dinner. It is a chocolate dessert, but comes in the form of a light mousse with no eggs or butter and is served cold (so it can be successfully served also in summertime); and, not less important, it is also very beautiful, served as individual mini-desserts coated in an elegant shiny glaze.
I admit that they require a little work, but they are easy to make and with a little bit of organization you will be rewarded by your guests compliments (who for sure will not believe that you made everything by yourself). Actually, it is possible to save a little time making one big mousse cake instead of individual ones: same ingredients, same technique, only less molds to fill. In any form you decide to make it, this dessert is worth trying, especially if you and your family / guests love chocolate.
I know, the recipe is very long, but trust me it takes longer to read than to make.

Light chocolate mousse with shiny cocoa glaze

Light chocolate mousse with shiny cocoa glaze
serves 8 to 10
Cocoa sponge cake layer
for a 30cmx30cm baking sheet
94 g egg whites (about 4 medium)
62 g egg yolks (about 2 medium)
100 g granulated sugar
26 g unsweetened cocoa powder
Light dark chocolate mousse
250 g full fat milk
285 g dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solid
4 g powdered gelatin (or in sheet)
20 g water (for hydrating the gelatin)
500 g whipping cream
Glacage au cacao
8 g gelatin (powdered or sheet)
120 g water
130 -140 g granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you want to make it; with dark chocolate 140 g is fine)
50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
100 g whipping cream
Topping: cocoa nibs, red fruits, chocolate coated coffee beans, ...

Prepare the sponge cake layer. Preheat the oven to 210°C and line a 30x30cm baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy, then gradually add sugar and whisk on medium-high speed until soft, glossy peaks form. Using a spatula gradually add egg yolks and sifted cocoa and gently mix from the bottom to the top of the bowl to incorporate. Spread the batter about 1,5 cm thick onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing the parchment paper. 
Using a ring or a cookie cutter with the same shape but a little smaller size than the molds you are going to use for the mousse, cut as many pieces of sponge cake as the individual mousses to prepare .
While the cake gets cold, make the chocolate mousse. Melt the chocolate: chop the dark chocolate into pieces and put them in a saucepan or in a heat-resistant bowl. Place the bowl over another pan with simmering water (the bottom of the bowl doesn't have to touch the water and the water doesn't have to boil) and let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. This operation can be done also in the microwave at low power, 40-50 seconds at a time, until the chocolate is melted. If you have a thermometer, check that the chocolate temperature remains under 50°C.
In a saucepan heat the milk. Meanwhile dissolve the gelatin powder: first of all sprinkle the granules into a cup or small basin containing a quantity of water equal to five times the weight of the gelatin. Stir gently and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the gelatin has soaked up the liquid; then place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave and heat, gently stirring, until the gelatin has dissolved completely and turned transparent.  To check all the granules are melted, lift the spoon used for stirring and make sure that there are no undissolved granules. Add it to the warm milk and stir to amalgamate.
If using gelatin sheets, soak first in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Then squeeze out the excess water and place the leaves in the saucepan with the warm milk and stir to dissolve.
Pour the milk-gelatin over the melted chocolate, in the center of the bowl, in three times, and stir gently with a spatula until a smooth emulsion forms.
In a cold bowl whisk the cream until it start thickening and form peaks; it doesn't have to be firmly whipped. Gently add the cream to the chocolate ganache and amalgamate.
Pour the mousse into silicone molds (I used hemispherical ones), filling up to 0,5 cm from the top.
Place on top a piece of sponge cake and put into the freezer until firm (at least 3 to 4 hours, but you can keep the mousse frozen up to one month).
Now it is time to make the glaze.
In a saucepan put the sugar, cocoa powder, water and cream and heat over low heat, stirring continuously  (gently, the mixture must not thicken).
Meanwhile, dissolve the powdered gelatin as described before (pour over water - 5 times the weight of gelatin - let stand 5 to 10 minute, then heat and stir) or soak in fresh water gelatin sheets. When the liquid begins to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the prepared gelatin, stirring to combine. Pass the mixture through a sieve and set aside to cool a bit. This glaze has to be used not completely cool, around  30°C when it is still fluid, pouring it over cold or frozen dessert (like our mousse or a frozen cake, but it is perfect also over a chocolate ganache tarte  to add a shiny layer). 
It is possible to prepare the glaze in advance and keep, with plastic wrap in contact with the surface, it in the fridge (up to one week) or in the freezer (up to two or three months) ; in this case before using, it is necessary to warm it up in the microwave or in a bain-marie.
For glazing the individual mousses, remove from the molds and place them, still frozen, over a wire-rack placed over a tray (to collect the exceeding glaze). Gently pour the glaze over each mousse so as to cover completely (better not to touch the glaze). After few minutes, with the help of a spatula transfer the individual desserts on a tray and put them into the refrigerator until the glaze firms and the chocolate mousse defrosts.
Before serving decorate with cocoa nibs or other topping of your choice (red fruits pair perfectly with chocolate, but also coffee beans covered in chocolate or hazelnuts).

Notes:
-       This chocolate mousse can also be served in small individual glasses or cup, instead of being poured into a mold or a cake ring. In this case keep it in the fridge, with plastic wrap on contact, until you want to serve it. Then using a piping bag, prepare the individual serving cup and decorate as you prefer.
-       It is also possible to make the mousse with different types of chocolate; the method is the same, only the quantity of gelatin changes, and with it the water to dissolve it (1 gram of water for each gram of powdered gelatin)
330 g dark chocolate 60% cocoa solid + 4 g powdered gelatin
340 g milk chocolate 40% cocoa solid + 5 g powdered gelatin
470 g white chocolate 35% +10 g powdered gelatin
375 g gianduja chocolate + 8 g powdered gelatin

Light chocolate mousse with shiny cocoa glaze

1 comment:

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