This is a rich and concentrated mousse with a texture that I really like. The combination of the chocolate and the burnt sugar caramel works really well. I like to serve this with caramel sauce and thick pouring cream. Sometimes I can get Jersey cream, and that is just heavenly.

Ingredients

  • 225g chocolate, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 50g butter, diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g granulated or caster sugar
  • 225ml water

Method

  • 62% or 70% chocolate is called for here to give the depth of chocolaty flavour that will counteract the sugar in the caramel.
  • Place the chocolate and butter in a Pyrex bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of cold water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl and place on the heat.
  • Bring the water to a simmer and immediately turn off the heat, allowing the butter and chocolate to melt gently in the bowl over the saucepan.
  • Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a spotlessly clean bowl for whisking later.
  • Whisk the yolks to a pale mousse.
  • To make the caramel, put the sugar and 125ml of water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and place on a low heat. Stir occasionally to encourage the sugar to dissolve before the liquid comes to a boil.
  • Once it boils and has become a syrup, remove the spoon and do not stir again. Allow the syrup to become a dark chestnut coloured caramel.
  • If it is colouring unevenly in the saucepan, tilt the pan gently to and fro to get it to even out by running the dark caramel into the paler syrup.
  • Do not be tempted to stir, as if you put a cold spoon into the caramel, it will 'block' and go solid - a disaster. Keep going until the caramel is a deep chestnut colour and almost burnt. Then immediately and quickly add the remaining 100ml of water, hot if possible to prevent less spluttering.
  • For safety, I usually place the saucepan sitting in the dry sink before adding that 100ml of water, as it is in a deeper place and the spluttering caramel just splashes onto the sides of the sink rather than the worktop.
  • Now the caramel will look a bit odd, but once you put the saucepan back on the heat it will cook out to a single consistency again.
  • Cook it until it thickens again and when you dip a spoon into the caramel and allow it to drop off the spoon, it will fall in a thickish thread. Pour this gradually on to the whisked egg yolks, whisking all of the time. A food mixer with the whisk attachment or a handheld electric whisk will do this job perfectly. The mixture will whisk to a mousse in a matter of minutes.
  • Stir the melted chocolate and the vanilla extract into the mousse. You may need to be a little vigourous with the stirring.
  • Whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak. Do not allow them to over-whip and become grainy.
  • Stir ¼ of the egg white into the mousse to soften it and then fold in the remaining three-quarters lightly yet thoroughly.
  • Pour the mixture into a shallow serving dish. There will not be a lot of mousse, but it is rich so the servings should be small.
  • Place the mousse in the fridge to chill for 4 hours.
  • Serve with a dark caramel sauce and thick pouring cream.
  • Perfectly ripe raspberries, particularly the autumn varieties, are delicious served with this mousse.