Nigel Slater that is, my favorite British writer who cooks and who I would never dare refer to as a ‘foodie’. A pet peeve of his.
Anyway, this is a very rich and dark chocolatey pud that hides under a thin, crisp, dark chocolate shell and a chunky scattering of golden, hazelnut praline.
A chocolate lover’s dream that happens to be really easy to make (especially if you make a big batch of praline and keep it in the freezer, as I do).
NIGEL SLATER’S DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH HAZELNUT PRALINE
9 oz (250g) of good dark chocolate
1.5 oz (40g) of butter cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons of espresso
5 eggs, separated
For the topping:
3.5 oz (100g) of dark chocolate, set aside
3-4 heaped tablespoons or more of hazelnut praline (recipe below)
Break the chocolate into small pieces (or use dark chocolate chips) and put them in a bowl set over barely simmering water – make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t come in to contact with the water, otherwise it will get too hot and the chocolate will ‘seize’ (become hard and gritty).
Once the chocolate has melted, add the butter then the espresso, stirring thoroughly to mix. Take it off the heat and quickly fold in the egg yolks, giving it a really good stir.
Beat the egg whites until billowy then fold them into the mousse using a large metal spoon in a cutting motion, until there are no white bits left to be seen.
Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Now is the time to make praline if you haven’t already.
In a heavy-based pan, combine equal quantities of whole raw hazelnuts (or almonds, pistachios, etc) and white sugar. Melt the sugar over a very low heat. The nuts will start to smell a bit toasty. This takes a while so don’t be tempted to crank up the heat.
Eventually the sugar will become a deep golden color and runny. When it reaches the runny stage with no granules left, quickly pour the entire contents of the pan onto a large greased baking sheet and allow it to cool and harden.
Once it’s hard, break it into pieces and grind it in a food processor until you have a fairly fine powder – or bash it with a rolling pin in a sealed plastic bag until you have random shards and nutty chunks. I keep both types in my freezer in little airtight containers.
When the mousse has set, break up the remaining chocolate and melt it in a bowl over simmering water as before. Once the chocolate is good and runny, pour it over the chilled mousse and spread it evenly, topped with a scattering of hazelnut praline.
Chill in the fridge until the chocolate has set (at least 30 mins).
You can make this 1 or two days before – just keep it covered in the fridge.