The flurry of January activity continued when it came to cooking dinner for everyone (N, myself and his parents). Having produced the pretty cupcakes the day before I had stupidly set myself up for another challenge. I had made something pretty and impressive (well, at least I hoped so) on the first afternoon, and now I had to continue that trend for dinner. Eek!
To be honest, I like cooking for people, but I am not one who's all about minding your Ps and Qs over the dinner table, and certainly didn't want to set some comedy posh precedent. I wanted good, hearty, enjoyable but tasty food, if it looked good that would be a bonus, but really it's all about taste and indulgence (as it always should be). I also wanted to try something new that I hadn't attempted before. It might go wrong, but it would be more fun for me to make at least.
So I came up with the idea of combining the dark chocolate espresso mousse recipe I'd be wanting an excuse to try, with a white chocolate mousse recipe I'd found. I figured I would top the former with the latter and produce a "cappuccino mousse."
So off I went:
The dark chocolate espresso mousse went very well. It all combined together and smelt lovely, it also looked like it was going to set perfectly.
The white chocolate mousse on the other hand was having none of it. It just wouldn't set. I blame the Vega-gel I used instead of gelatin. I was trying to keep the recipe totally vegetarian, and while I don't actively avoid gelatin in my daily diet, I figured that where I personally made the choice it would be better to be totally vegetarian and avoid gelatin, since I could do it no problem. No problem, yeah, right. The Vega-gel just turned into a gelatinous mess and so didn't combine with the other ingredients meaning that eventually after seemingly hours of trying I had to give in, strain the mousse and accept that it wasn't going to set. Serious Failure number one for the North London Kitchen. I even tried the suggestion of the Domestic Goddess Help Hotline (Mum on her mobile) and added whisked egg whites. Nope, that white chocolate was in vendetta mode and just wasn't going to comply.
Fortunately it actually worked out for the best (at least I presented it that way!) I set the dark chocolate espresso mousse in the bottom of a cocktail glass, and then poured the white chocolate not-so-mousse over the top, giving it a foaming liquid look, more like an actual cappuccino. Voila!
So yes, I thought it all turned out rather well. I topped them with a marbled chocolate slice from a packet I found at the supermarket, served and we all enjoyed (at least I think we all did, I certainly did!) No pictures of the final served version I'm afraid as I was in a hurry to put them on the table and thought pausing to take a sneaky picture might just be a bit much, but you get the gist from above.
Finally, here's the recipe as I did promise people I would post them.
Cappuccino Mousse: (serves 4-6 depending on portion size, it’s rich so I made six medium ones)
First make the dark chocolate mousse so that it can be setting in the fridge while you prepare the white chocolate layer.
Dark Chocolate Espresso Mousse:
3/4 cups bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup espresso (extra strong from an espresso machine is best)
2 egg yolk
1 Tb sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Combine the chocolate, butter and espresso in a small saucepan over low heat until the chocolate melts and stir until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk and sugar until pale. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold it into the chocolate base. Refrigerate one hour before using.
White Chocolate Mousse topping:
1.5 Tb. water
2.5 oz. white chocolate (Green and Blacks looks most like a cappuccino topping because of the vanilla)
1 cups single or pouring cream (18% fat)
Place the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until smooth and the chocolate is fully incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl. Whisk for 3 minutes or until cooled. Refrigerate for a little while before topping the dark chocolate mousse with it to get the cappuccino effect.