To give thanks with chocolate
I just finished my mid-year exams a few days ago. Five exams in eight days – phew! This was a testing point for me, to see if I really had the capability to go back to Uni to study the sciences at a high level, after more than a decade away from the books. I feel OK. I felt reasonably confident that I did well in my exams and in the subjects overall. Hopefully, when results come out in two weeks, I won’t be disappointed. For my last exam, I recruited my partner to help me study; a challenge in itself, because he’s an Accountant, not a fellow Scientist. I gave him all of my lectures notes, and asked him to ask me questions to test whether or not I was retaining anything. We spent a couple of hours doing this before I decided, enough was enough. If I didn’t know the content by now, it was too late anyway. So, I went to bed slightly anxious because there was A LOT of content for me to remember. The next morning was exam day. I was still feeling a little anxious, wishing that it was an afternoon exam rather than a morning exam to give me an extra few hours to study. I didn’t really need to worry though. The questions were fine and I felt confident throughout the entire exam. I have my partner to thank for that. With his help, I was able to recall what I needed. So, to thank him for his efforts, I made him a little treat for dessert last night – a mini chocolate mousse cake. This recipe is supposed to serve two people, however, we shared one last night and that was enough.
‘Thank you’ Mini chocolate mousse cakes
100g digestive biscuits
30g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 titanium strength gelatine leaf
2 tbs Frangelico
100g dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg, separated
¾ cup (185ml) thickened cream
Whipped cream, to serve
50g dark chocolate
20g unsalted butter
2 tbs thickened cream
1 tsp glucose syrup
½ cup (100g) caster sugar
Grease and line two 10cm (base measurement) springform cake pans. Process the biscuits in food processor until finely crushed. If you don’t have a food processor, chuck the biscuits in a zip lock bag and crush using a rolling pin, or meat mallet. Place butter in a large bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder until smooth, and then stir in the biscuit crumbs. Press over the bases of the prepared pans. Whack the pans in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Place gelatine in a bowl. Cover with cold water and set aside for 5 minutes to soften. Once softened squeeze the excess water out and stir the gelatine with the Frangelico in a small saucepan over low heat until the gelatine dissolves.
Chuck the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the egg yolk and thickened cream until smooth. Carefully stir in the gelatine mixture.
Use an electric beater to beat the egg white in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Then use a large metal spoon to fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Divide the chocolate mixture between the two pans, and whack them into the fridge to chill for 2 hours or until they’re firm.
For the satin glaze, stir the chocolate, butter, cream and glucose syrup in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, once again ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, for 3-4 minutes or until melted and smooth. Divide the chocolate mixture between the pans. Whack them back in the fridge to chill for another hour, or until the satin glaze is firm.
To make the toffee hearts, preheat oven to 200°C (fan forced). Line a roasting dish with foil, then add a layer of baking paper on top. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the baking paper. Chuck the dish in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Carefully take out your roasting dish from the oven. Really quickly (and I mean, really quickly before the toffee hardens), use a metal spoon to drizzle the toffee into heart shapes on the prepared tray. Set aside for 10 minutes for the toffee to harden.
To serve, transfer the cakes to serving plates. Top with the whipped cream and toffee hearts.
Note: I have amended the original recipe slightly. If you would like to see the original recipe, click here. I used titanium strength gelatine leaves because that was all I had in my pantry. If you are using normal strength gelatine leaves, use two leaves instead of one. In regards to the liqueur, you don’t have to use Frangelico; you could use any liqueur that goes well with chocolate, e.g. Bailey’s, Cointreau etc.