Chocolate mousse with cocoa nibs

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Resting time: 2 hours

Cooking time
35 minutes

Serves
4–6

This is for any serious chocaholic. A chocolate crème Madame (chocolate pastry cream and whipped cream folded together) makes for an easy and delicious chocolate mousse, but I like something with more of a chocolate attitude.

Each element is vital—chocolate pastry cream for a silky-smooth feel, meringue and whipped cream to make it airy, and melted dark chocolate to give an extra-rich chocolate flavor. I also like to coat my serving glasses with cocoa nibs to add a bitter chocolate crunch. If you can’t get hold of cocoa nibs (available at specialty food shops, online, and at some supermarkets), a coating of finely chopped nuts mixed with some cocoa powder is a good alternative.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp soft butter
  • 1½ oz cocoa nibs, plus extra for serving

For the chocolate meringue:

  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • a couple of drops of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • scant 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups chilled Crème Pâtissière made with 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder instead of vanilla

Method

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.

TO MAKE THE MERINGUE:
Put half the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and salt and whisk until snow white. Add the rest of the egg whites and continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks.

  1. 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 to soft peaks.
  2. Beat the pastry cream 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.
  3. Divide the mousse between the glasses and chill for at least an hour. Serve chilled, sprinkled with cocoa nibs. The mousse is best eaten the same day and should not be kept for more than 2 days (due to the raw egg whites).