Chocolate and prunes were made for each other. This luscious mousse is adapted from a Patricia Lousada recipe and combines prunes with dark chocolate – and a few toasted walnuts are added for some unexpected crunch.
Another sublime confection that combines all three, are these Chocolate & Prune Truffles, which admittedly involve a few stages of preparation over several days despite requiring no particular skill. They’re impressive, absolutely world-class and are well worth the time.
Soaking the prunes in alcohol for a few days is a must in both cases but this recipe is simpler and makes a lovely dinner party dessert.
This mousse also freezes well but it’s essential to bring it back to room temperature before serving.
Note – it contains gelatin so isn’t suitable for strict vegetarians.
CHOCOLATE, PRUNE & WALNUT MOUSSE
2 tablespoon of Cognac, Grand Marnier or Kirsch
8 oz (250g) of pitted, ready-to-eat prunes, chopped finely
1 level tablespoon of gelatin powder
2 tablespoons of cold water
11 fl oz (325ml) of whole milk
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, separated
3.5 oz (100g) of vanilla sugar
4 oz (125g) of good quality dark chocolate, chopped or chips
4 fl oz (125ml) of whipping cream
2 oz (50g) of walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped plus some for decoration
A pinch of salt
Soak the chopped prunes in the alcohol overnight or up to 4 days, if you have time
Put the powdered gelatin in a small cup and pour two tablespoons of water over it. Let it sit for a few minutes until it soaks up the water and becomes spongy. Now place that cup in a bowl of very hot water to allow the gelatin to dissolve and become runny.
Bring the milk and cinnamon to a boil in a heavy pan. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with with half of the sugar until pale, then carefully pour the hot cinnamon milk over the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Pour everything back into the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring the whole time. Don’t let it boil.
Once the custard has thickened slightly, take it off the heat and add the chocolate. Give it a good stir and when all the chocolate has melted, stir in the dissolved gelatin.
Pour the lot into a mixing bowl set over a larger bowl of ice and stir from time to time until it starts to thicken. Whip the cream until you have soft peaks. Once the chocolate mixture is cool and has thickened a bit (but before it sets completely), fold in the whipped cream followed by the alcohol-soaked prunes and chopped walnuts.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until you have stiff peaks then gradually whisk in the remaining sugar.
Using a large metal spoon and with a cutting motion, add 1/4 of the egg white to the chocolate mixture to lighten it then proceed to fold in the remaining egg white in the same way, until everything is incorporated.
Divide the mousse between 6-8 small dishes or wine glasses, then cover and chill for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 3 days.
Remove from the fridge at least one hour before serving. Decorate with walnut pieces, white or dark chocolate curls, edible gold dust, praline, or whatever you prefer.