As far as I can recall, I haven't made mousse since home ec class. No, wait, I lie! There was this FABULOUS Mint Chocolate Mousse in Nyt (that would be the weekly supplement to Helsingin Sanomat, not the Times) maybe ten years ago, and I made it once and loved it... and lost the recipe (fellow Finns, I would be eternally grateful for that recipe). No, wait, I lie some more! Last year for Independence Day I made a three-mousse dessert (Lemon, Dark Chocolate and Mascarpone & After Eight) that was just... wow. Especially the After Eight.
Maybe I've made mousse once a month my whole life and just keep forgetting about it? This mousse will be remembered, at least, because I made it for Helen's edition of Donna Day, the 11th all-in-all. And because it was interesting - in a good way! It's definitely a grown-up dessert, even though no booze is involved: the combination of Earl Grey tea and dark chocolate gives it quite an edge, which is beautifully cut by the oven-dried pears it's served with.
Indeed, when, erm, licking the bowl, I had some pangs of doubt - the taste of tea felt a bit harsh and overpowering. I don't know whether it was the time in the fridge, settling, or just pairing it with the sweetened, crisp pears and juicy raspberries that brought everything together beautifully by the time it went on the table.
Earl Grey Mousse with Dried Pear Slices and Raspberries
adapted from Glorian Ruoka & Viini, serves 5-6
for the pears:
for the mousse:
100 g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
150 ml + 150 ml + 2 tbsp thick cream
1 tbsp Earl Grey leaves (my tea is VERY strong, so you may want to up this if yours doesn't fill the entire kitchen with bergamot fumes when you open the tin)
150 ml sugar
2 tbsp water
4 egg yolks
2 sheets gelatin
Wash and dry the pears and slice them thinly. Place the slices on a papered cookie sheet and sprinkle with icing sugar. Dry in a 125°C oven for about an hour or until they're crisp to the touch. Let cool, then carefully peel off the parchment paper.
Chop the chocolate very finely and place in a bowl. Bring 150 ml of cream and 1 tbsp tea to the boil. Take off the heat and let steep for a few minutes, then strain and discard the tea leaves, bring the cream back to the boil, and pour over the chocolate, stirring gently until the chocolate melts.
In another pan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Slowly add the egg yolks to the hot sugar syrup while beating with a handheld electric mixer. Keep beating for a minute or so, then transfer to the bowl of your
In yet another bowl (I know!), beat 150 ml cream to soft-ish peaks. Fold the chocolate mix and the cream into the beaten egg mixture.
Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for five minutes, then squeeze off excess water and dissolve into the remaining 2 tbsp of cream. (Um, which you've heated. Or it won't dissolve.)
Fold the gelatin cream into the mousse and let rest in the fridge for about an hour (alternatively, spoon into whatever dishes you want to serve it from and save yourself the bother of trying to do the next step). Spoon lumps of mousse onto pear slices; try to make this look attractive.
Serve with raspberries.