Chocolate mousse with cocoa nibs
This chocolate mousse is for any serious chocaholic. The silky-smooth feel from the pastry cream together with the melted dark chocolate gives an extra-rich flavor.
For the crème pâtissière (pastry cream)
- 3 free-range egg, yolks only
- 50g/2oz caster sugar
- 20g/1oz cornflour
- 250ml/9fl oz whole milk
- 1 heaped tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
For the chocolate meringue
- 3 free-range eggs, whites only
- 50g/2oz icing sugar
- couple drops lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 150g/5½oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 200ml/7fl oz whipping cream
- 2 tbsp soft butter
- 50g/2oz cocoa nibs
For the crème pâtissière, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and thick, then whisk in the cornflower.
Add the cocoa powder to the milk and bring to a boil then switch off the heat.
Pour the milk in a slow stream onto the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time. (Pour slowly to avoid scrambling the egg.)
Return the mixture to a clean pot over a medium heat and whisk continuously. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom, otherwise it will burn.
The cream will start to thicken. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
Pour into a shallow bowl. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on to the cream) and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.
For the meringue, put half the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until white.
Add the rest of the egg whites and continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks when the whisk is removed.
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 until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
To make the mousse, beat the chilled crème pâtissière 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.
To serve, 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.
Divide the mousse between the glasses and chill for at least an hour, but ideally four hours. Serve chilled, sprinkled with cocoa nibs. The mousse is best eaten the same day and should not be kept for more than two days (due to the raw egg whites).
If you can’t get hold of cocoa nibs (available at specialist food shops, online and at some supermarkets), a coating of finely chopped nuts mixed with some cocoa powder is a good alternative.