The crazy thing about really good chocolate mousse? It’s a mousse on the outside, but a sabayon on the inside. What’s a sabayon you ask? You have clearly not been following my posts, otherwise you would have spotted this gorgeous Zabaglione Cake I made last year. Anywho, a sabayon is an Italian custard sauce made by whisking together rich egg yolks with sugar and usually wine (I use coffee here) over a double boiler until it has doubled in volume and is luxuriously fluffy. This whisking process is going to take time, so if you’re going to be using your hand, get ready to whisk non-stop for fifteen minutes, or you could shift to a hand-mixer like I do. If you’re taking a break, best to take the yolk mixture off the heat too, because you don’t want to be left with scrambled eggs. The reason I insist on using a sabayon for chocolate mousse as opposed to only-stiff beaten egg whites is because there’s a richer taste of chocolate that comes through and since a sabayon is meant to be extremely light and moussey, you get double the fluff and isn’t a mousse really about just that?
The coffee maple honeycomb came from this ridiculous idea to use maple syrup, or rather the corn syrup content of maple syrup together with coffee to get a delicious bittersweet flavour that goes great with the sweet mousse and then you have the cream to just bring everything together. Mmm, I need to go make another batch of this right now.
Chocolate Mousse With Maple Coffee Honeycomb
A bit of a weekend project, if you really need to wow your guests with a dessert, this one's for you. I've never once had any leftover chocolate mousse after a party and you'll know why. The maple coffee honeycomb crunch is a delicious topping for the mousse, as is a heaped spoonful of cream.
For The Mousse
Cream 200ml, preferably from a dairy. I get mine from Pakeezah Milk Centre in Khar, and this whips well
Egg yolks 4
Egg whites 2
Dark Chocolate 180g (do not use compound), chopped
Strong coffee or espresso 60ml
Caster Sugar 3 tbsp
Salt a pinch
For The Honeycomb
Caster sugar 250g
Strong coffee or espresso 40ml
Maple syrup 40ml (not the light variety)
Baking soda 2 tsp
Start with the honeycomb crunch. You'll need a candy thermometer for this step. If you don't have one, I suggest you buy it because it's so useful and it costs practically nothing. You can get one from Arife Lamoulde or buy it online here.
Grease a baking tray generously and set it aside.
Add the sugar, coffee and maple syrup in a large saucepan and begin heating this over a medium flame. Once it records a temperature of 130 degrees celsius, wear your mitts, get armed with a whisk and crank up the heat. When it records a temperature of 150 degrees celsius, take it off the heat quickly and whisk in the baking soda. It will expand rapidly before your eyes. Pour it onto the baking tray and let it cool for half an hour. Use a knife to break into pieces. You can store this in an airtight container for weeks.
For the mousse, start by whisking 150ml of the chilled cream over a proper ice bath till it holds stiff peaks. The ice bath is very important because the cream needs to be chilled from all sides to whip it well, otherwise in seconds it can start turning into butter, so make sure that the water you dunk it in is icy cold. Keep this in the refrigerator till you need it.
Combine together the egg yolks, the strong coffee, 2 out of 3 tbsp of caster sugar and the pinch of salt together in a heatproof bowl and set it over a double boiler (a double boiler is when you keep a saucepan of water to simmer below and set another pan on top that fits snugly but doesn't touch the surface of the water. The steam helps gently cook the contents of the above pan). Start whisking the mixture by hand or using a hand blender till the whole mixture has tripled in volume and become quite frothy and thick. This could take up till ten to fifteen minutes and you ought to be happy with the consistency. You could use a candy thermometer to check the temperature at this stage, it should record a temperature of 70-75 degrees celsius. Take the pan off the double boiler and add the chocolate. Let this stand for a minute for the chocolate to soften and whisk till smooth. Keep this out till it reaches room temperature.
Whisk the egg whites with the leftover tablespoon of sugar till it holds stiff peaks. Now fold the egg whites in two batches into the now-room temperature chocolate sabayon and lastly, fold in the cream. Do this quite gently and when you're incorporating the cream, it's fine if there are still a few streaks of white cream left. Divide the mixture into ramekins and let it chill in the refrigerator for two to three hours at least before serving.
You can whip the remaining 50ml cream into peaks too and serve alongside the mousse, topped with the smashed pieces of honeycomb.