Chocolate mousse is a death row dish for me. Always dark, so rich and indulgent. So simple too. A simple alchemy of chocolate and eggs, and I like to make it simply this way often, as I would in school and as I shared in my cookbook Comfort & Spice, dressed up there simply with broken honeycomb. Other times, as with here, I soften things out with cream, and add flavours, here spice, wonderful cardamom.
When working with chocolate, it is important to bear in my mind how fragile it can be, and how easy it is to burn it, so always melt it in a double boiler (with the chocolate in a pot that fits snugly on top of another pot with boiling water in it). Heat it until just melted, if you let it get too hot, you might scramble the egg yolk when you add it. Otherwise, this is very easy, quick, rich and gorgeous.
Recipe: Chocolate & Cardamom Mousse
makes 4 polite portions – but you know, who wants to be polite around chocolate mousse?!
4 cardamom pods
200g good dark chocolate
4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites (ensuring there is absolutely no trace of yolk in the white)
100ml whipping cream (heavy cream in the US)
Split the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Toast in a dry frying pan over a high heat for a minute or so, the grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar or in a spice blender.
Melt the chocolate until just melted in a double boiler, or in a pot or heatproof bowl that sits comfortably over a pot of boiling water, ensuring that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl or pot with the chocolate in.
While the chocolate is melting, whip the cream until thick, and separately egg whites as you would for meringue, until they have stiff peaks and a smooth texture. This is easiest with an electric whisk or in a mixer but by hand with a whisk will be fine, if a bit more work.
When the chocolate is just melted, remove the bowl or pot from the heat and stir in the ground cardamom, then quickly whisk in the egg yolks. If the chocolate is just melted the eggs won’t scramble when you add them (a risk when you overheat the chocolate only), but be quick with it anyway, to quickly incorporate the smooth rich eggs into the melted chocolate. Mix in the whipped cream, and then gently fold in the egg white, taking care not to knock the air out, until fully incorporated and a lovely mousse.
Divide the mousse into serving bowls and cover with cling film or similar. I like to serve it in my vintage babycham glasses, below. Leave to set in the fridge for an hour or two.