Portuguese-style Chocolate Mousse

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I love to cook what people people love and Dan loves chocolate mousse. I’ve heard the love of chocolate mousse originates from the many summers spent in Portugal with his grandparents which sound fabulous; hot and sunny with siestas in the afternoon and long evenings with good food and conversation. I’d love to go and soak up the sun and the culture, try the fantastic seafood and learn how to really make real natas, the quintessential, rich custard tarts. I’m sure we will go one day but for now I try to make Portuguese recipes now and again, because everyone likes a little reminder of their holidays sometimes. What’s great about this recipe is the simplicity but also the adaptability, you can add any kind of essence, add any topping and any base to the serving dishes and I’m sure it would work just as well.

My attempts at natas and the popular Portuguese salt cod with rice were okay but I think this has been one of the best Portuguese inspired recipes so far. I had been meaning to make this for ages but don’t often find time for desserts but this was good fun and surprisingly easy! My history of making big-batch meringues in my first job definitely helped judge the eggs whites but I don’t think you can go too wrong. This is based upon the Delia recipe for Chocolate mousse, with some tweaks for our taste.

Supposedly this mousse can save you from therapy.

I can’t guarantee that but it really is pretty darn tasty.

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Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 200g dark (75% cocoa) chocolate
  • 120ml warm water
  • 3 large eggs (fresh if possible)
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Option to serve: Extra dark chocolate and lime zest

Method

First break up the 200g chocolate into small pieces and combine with the warm water and vanilla essence in a heat-proof, pyrex style bowl. You can microwave this for speed but ideally, sit over a saucepan of just simmering water for around 6 minutes. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water or the chocolate will overheat. Once melted together, remove from the heat and stir lots until smooth and glossy, then set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Once just lukewarm add the egg yolks and stir vigorously again to combine.

Next, in another large mixing bowl, use an electric whisk to whisk the egg whites to nice soft-peaks, already white and trustworthy. Next very gradually add the sugar, keeping the whisk on a slow speed and take your time. Once all the sugar is involved, turn the whisk back up until the eggs whites are stiff, glossy and you can confidently hold the bowl upturned over your head.

The final stage required just patience, that’s it. Use a metal spoon to fold a tablespoon of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then carefully add the rest. Slowly use folding and cutting movements, taking chocolate from the very bottom up to the top and combining slowly to retain as much air as possible. Finally, divide the mousse between the glasses and chill for at least 2 hours, then decorate with grated chocolate, lime peel or anything else you fancy just before serving.

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