There is something truly phenomenal about a chocolate mousse – like a ganache that’s holding it’s breath, filled with air. The gentle crackle as the spoon pops the thousands of tiny bubble suspended beneath the surface is one of those delicate sounds that just brings pure joy. It derives, of course, from the whipped egg whites like a meringue.
The secret ingredient here is, of course, the chilli powder. Chilli and chocolate seems to have only emerged into English-speaking markets as a pairing in the past ten years or so ago, but it has proved fantastically popular. It has, of course, existed in South American cuisine for millennia and there is a reason for it – the tingling on your tongue brings out the aromatic cocoa qualities and makes the entire affair feel far more sophisticated than a chocolate mousse has any business to be. Also, trust me on the coffee – you won’t taste coffee flavours. It is simply there to bring out an even more profound chocolate flavouring.
And, of course, serving it in a coupe glass with a few chilli flakes sprinkled on top like some tiny flower petals.
Ingredients – 4 large or 6 medium mousses
- 200g strong dark chocolate
- 80ml cold instant coffee
- 4 medium eggs, separated into whites and yolks
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1-3 tsp chilli powder, depending on if you want a small tingle or socks fully blown off.
- Dark chocolate chips
- Sprinkling chilli flakes
- Break the chocolate into chunks and place in a large bowl with the cold coffee. Put the bowl on top of a saucepan with a bit of boiling water in, simmering. Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the surface of the water. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the liquid and you have a smooth, shimmering mixture. Remove from the heat so it cools slightly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until making soft peaks that hold for a few moments before melting back into the mixture. Whisk in the sugar a tbsp at a time.
- When the chocolate mixture is slightly cooled add in the egg yolks and stir through. The mixture should be cool so it doesn’t cook the eggs.
- Using a spoon or spatula, fold in the egg whites 1/3 at a time. Fold, don’t stir, or you will lose the airiness you’ve worked so hard to gather.
- Add the chilli powder one tsp at a time, tasting for spice levels.
- Pour into glasses/ramekins/bowls/mugs and refrigerate for at least a few hours.
- When it has set, top with a few chocolate chips and sprinkling of chilli flakes.
These will keep for 2 days in the fridge – cling film if you don’t want them to get tough and leathery.