dark chocolate mousse with banana gelato and caffe latte granita

26 Apr

A square of dark chocolate? Perfect moderation?

Or decadence in three acts?  A layer of rich truffled chocolate, a layer of light but sweet banana icecream and a sprinkle of icy coffee crystals for added flair. As if a pot of chocolate mousse wasn’t luxurious enough on its own. But just right for balancing a particularly green meal.

The whole caboodle took less than an hour. Last afternoon of the holidays, home, tired and a little sunburnt. Sat on the balcony in negligible clothes and admired my newly sprouted seeds. The granita needed stirring, the chocolate mousse a little tasting. Nothing more demanding than that.

Finally a few friends turned up, equally exhausted from intensive holiday-making. Squeezed onto the tiny balcony, we sipped martini blanc. Laughed at nothing. Ate green monster spinach tart followed by wine glasses piled high with rich chocolate-coffee-banana decadence. Finished the evening by playing the Worst Case Scenario Survival game. Now we know how to get rid of leeches; how to remove skin from a zipper (peanut butter is NOT the answer, apparently) and how to shriek at a black bear.

Neither the great wild bear-filled outdoors nor moderation are for me. I will venture as far as my Parisian terrasse and then come back to devour chocolate mousse.

My banana “gelato” is not really worthy of a recipe, given that it only uses one ingredient. It almost seems a shame to ruin the magic. The granita takes five minutes plus freezing time. And the chocolate mousse is simple as well and can be made in two ways: superficial and airy or intense and mysterious. Interpret your relationships according to your chocolate  preference! (Says someone who clearly read too many trashy magazines at the airport.)

If you whip the cream, the mousse will be delicate and bubbly like Aero chocolate bar; if you don’t (or can’t, stupidly thin French cream) then it will be more like a truffle, to be prised slowly off the spoon and savoured. Either way, whirlwind romance guaranteed.

Chocolate mousse

makes enough for 6 reasonably greedy people

240g chocolate (mixture of milk and dark)

30g butter

160ml double cream

2 eggs, separated

40g sugar

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave on a very low heat. Stir gently and leave to cool. When cooler, stir in the egg yolks until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a large clean bowl whip the egg whites until stiff enough to hold upside down over your head. Gradually add the sugar and a pinch of salt – keep whipping – so they remain stiff.

For intense rich pots de creme, mix the cream directly with the chocolate. For fluffy chocolate mousse, whip the cream  in another bowl until soft peaks form. Very gently fold the chocolate mixture with the cream and egg whites, taking care not to lose the volume.

Spoon into six glasses and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve plain or layered with banana icecream and caffe latte granita.

Caffe Latte Granita

180ml fresh brewed espresso

70ml milk

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp Nutella

Make proper espresso with a Moka pot or other fancy gadgetry. (If no other option, make a cup of strong filter coffee. But use good quality coffee!) While it is still hot, stir in the sugar and the Nutella so they dissolve. Mix in the milk as well. Pour the mixture into a shallow plastic tub and put in the freezer for several hours. After an hour or so, as the mixture is starting to freeze, rake the surface with a fork to break it up into large crystals. Put back in the freezer. Repeat several times. The granita should not be too smooth – not like a slushy – but have large and small chunks of coffee crystals.

(Magic) Banana Gelato

3 frozen bananas

Break the frozen bananas into chunks. Blend with a hand blender or a food processor to the smooth, light consistency of Mr Whippy icecream (or Italian gelato, depending how pretentious you are). Put back in the freezer for a little while to firm up.

Do not tell your guests how easy it was.

The Parfait

Fill a generous wineglass half-full of chocolate mousse. Dollop a scoop of banana icecream on top and finish with a sprinkle of granita crystals. And a long handled spoon for extra elegance.

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