Generous friends with large dining tables should be highly valued. Friends of ours, Caroline and Jeremy, are both generous and indeed have a large dining table. So last Saturday we found ourselves at a dinner party for 12 adults.
The highlight of the evening was a massive 6.2 kilo Red Emperor snapper wrapped in banana leaves with pickled plums and cooked on the BBQ. Jeremy had done a class at the Spirit House and so we were the lucky benefactors. Sitting next to the cook had the advantage of scoring one of the sweet, sweet fish cheeks! There was also a beautiful Thai style pumpkin soup with prawns and a scrumptious, crunchy Thai vegetable salad – must beg for recipes.
Our contribution to the feast was this Chocolate Mousse with Coffee Granita. I have made coffee granita many times before and just topped it with whipped cream – one of my favourite desserts. So this was just one step further with the chocolate mousse. Another friend, Vena, made a beautiful ginger ice cream to go with and it worked so well. When we left Joel was saying he wished he could have had a few more scoops of the ginger ice cream. It cut through the richness of the mousse and the ginger was very complimentary.
There is a Gordon Ramsay recipe for Bitter Chocolate Mousse with Coffee Granita and Light Ginger Cream. So I guess it is no surprise that the ginger ice cream worked so well.
The chocolate mousse can just go in a large bowl ready to scoop out for individual serves. Or you can do what I did and just pour the mousse into little glasses and then leave them to set. Then just layer up the granita and cream.
The coffee granita recipe was wonderful. It calls for liquid glucose which you can just pick up from the supermarket. I’m struggling here to think of the right words but the texture of the granita was better than ones I’ve made previously which don’t have the liquid glucose. It was almost sticky and the colour was consistent. Sometimes in past granitas, the coffee leaks out as it melts leaving just the ice – like in a slushie drink. But this granita didn’t.
You can make the chocolate swirls easy enough to pop on top. A little chocolate mold would help you get a nice consistent swirl but I just piped the chocolate on a lined baking tray and left them to set. I kept them in the fridge right up to the last moment and even though we were plating up the ginger ice cream, granita and cream pretty fast some of the swirls just wilted too quickly. I’m sure there is a trick out there – maybe it is just that you don’t serve chocolate swirls in March in Queensland. I missed out the step of popping a coffee bean on the swirl. I didn’t have any.
I highly recommend this dessert. It was pretty straight forward and I managed to make it on a busy Saturday morning with kids running around and fielding phonecalls about our building plans and quotes etc. A lovely do-ahead dessert. Next time I will have to get Vena’s recipe for ginger ice cream or give that light ginger cream a go.
chocolate mousse with coffee granita
(from Karen Martini’s book ‘Feasting’)
380ml hot espresso coffee
90g caster sugar
1 tablespoon liquid glucose
300g dark couverture chocolate, chopped
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 eggs, separated
2 1/2 tablespoons white rum
40g caster sugar
250ml pouring cream, lightly whipped
200g dark chocolate buttons
10 coffee beans
whipped cream, light ginger cream, vanilla ice cream or ginger ice cream
Stir the granita ingredients together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into a shallow plastic container and pop in the freezer for 4 hours or until frozen. Using a fork, scrape the surface to make granita flakes. Either do this just before you serve or flake it and pop it back in the freezer until ready to serve. It make need a little further flaking.
For the mousse, melt the chocolate in a double boiler then stir in the butter, egg yolks and rum. Mix till smooth. Whisk the egg whites with the sugar until soft peaks form then fold through the chocolate mousse. I folded through half the egg whites at a time. Fold through the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate or if you are doing individual glasses then divide the mousse amongst the glasses, cover and refrigerate.
To make the swirls, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Leave to cool and thicken then scoop into a piping bag fitted with a very fine tip. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pipe 10 chocolate spirals and place a coffee bean in the centre of each. You will have a lot of leftover chocolate so keep making spirals and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for another time. Leave the swirls to sit for an hour before popping in the fridge to firm up.
To serve, place a scoop of mousse in a chilled glass, top with some granita and a dollop of cream. Then place the chocolate swirl on top.