Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ponte vecchio chocolate mousse

This post is also a little overdue I know.
As promised, here is the recipe for the Octobers special dessert. It is heavy in components, but delicious as it melts in your mouth. I like the cold granita against the smooth mousse and then the crunch of a spiced biscuit.
Actually, give me any dessert with a biscuity element and I'll order it.

It was a popular pudding. In fact, the whole of last months specials menu was incredibly popular; we surprised a lot of people with a creamed leek and smoked haddock pasta - something that could become a permanent fixture next time we play wound with the menu.
However, it was the coarse cut pate of belly pork, smoked bacon, thyme and calvados that had people talking. I don't think we've ever sold so many portions - over 70 - and neither have we ever decided to repeat a special so quickly - it is putting in another appearance next month on the Christmas menu.

I have a lot of fun coming up with specials each month. At least 10 experiments and ideas get discarded everytime. Sometimes I can modify my experiments and use them the following month, but just as often, I miss my chance to use a seasonal ingredient and have to file away the idea for the next year.

You can imagine, I've got quite a full notebook!

For the biscuits follow this recipe here, being sure to add 2tsp of ground mixed spice with the flour. Cut the biscuits into circles large enough to make a lid for the mousse serving glass. Cut another hole into this lid to make a slot for a spoon to slide into. Cook as described.

For the pear granita
2 ripe pears
90ml water
30g sugar

Quarter, peel and core the pears. Dice into 1cm pieces and put in a pan with the water and sugar. Cook for just under ten minutes until the pears are soft.
Cool completely.
Puree the pears and any cooking liquid until smooth.
Pour into a dish and place in the freezer for two hours. After this time, stir a fork through it to break up the frozen pieces. Repeat the process every hour until you have a dish of fine coloured crystals.

For the cranberry granita
100g cranberries
100ml water
75g sugar
30ml juice from an orange

Place the cranberries, water, sugar and orange juice in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat and leave, covered, for 30 minutes.
Blend the mixture until smooth.
Sieve to remove all the skin.
Freeze as with the pear granita; stirring regularly with a fork.

For the mousse
100ml milk
250g mixture of plain and milk chocolate
300ml double cream
3 large egg whites

Scorch the milk over a medium heat in a saucepan.
Meanwhile, break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl balanced over a pan of gently simmering water. It is best if the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Overheating the chocolate will cause it to go lumpy, so as soon as it starts to melt, turn off the heat but leave the bowl in place.
Whip the cream so that it forms soft mounds rather than peaks. In other words it should not be too stiff. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
When the chocolate is completely melted, remove from the heat and pour the warm milk on to it through a sieve. Stir the chocolate and milk together till velvety.
Scoop the mixture on to the stiffly beaten egg whites and fold gently together with a large metal spoon.
Now fold into the softly whipped cream. Scrape into a serving bowl glasses and refrigerate for three or four hours till set.

To Assemble
Pile a little of each granita onto the top of each mousse.
Top the dessert with a biscuit lid and stick a spoon through before serving.


  1. What a fun dessert! Totally up my alley: I love the variety of textures, going from tangy to mellow to creamy to icy to soft with the cookie. I love the whimsical idea behind it and the photos are lovely! Great job!

  2. this is one of the cutest presentations ever!! thanks so much for sharing!

    and thanks for sharing your liver story as well. makes me feel better that i'm not alone! :)

  3. How much fun to develop recipes and implement them. Great idea to top with biscuit lid, like having a treat after a treat.