Chili and chocolate is a wicked, wanton pairing. Chocolate is deep and dark; spicy notes with a bass pounding beat. Chili is bright and spicy – a spark of fire like the river of sound from a sharp sexy saxophone. Together, they play off each other and intensify their own qualities to create an extraordinarily beautiful fusion.
This mousse was created as the last dish in a Spanish red wine tasting at O’Gourmet Food Hall. It was paired with a Humiliat 2008 – a red that is complex, with a depth of flavour and contrast. The pairing of chili and chocolate brought out the various notes in the red wine, and deepened its complexity even further.
Do note that I used organic eggs for this recipe – and this is crucial because the egg white is not cooked. If you have concerns, use pasturised eggs if possible. And do balance the amount of chili to suit your taste. I used Kashmiri chili from O’Gourmet – which is full of fire, and yet smooth and gorgeous. The thing I love about this chili is that in sweet dishes (I used it in a vanilla ice cream before as well), it really allows for stages of flavour – the first hit you get is chocolate, and then suddenly, fire. Its very more-ish, and brings about a flush of passion in those who consume it.
This is not a diet dessert by any standards – chocolate, lashings of cream, butter and eggs. Its rich, but the chili somehow adds a fresh, wild note. And as laden as it is with calories, it uses very simple ingredients – and if you make sure they are top quality, the taste will be sublime. You also cant have huge bowlfuls of this dessert – it is best served as a delightful, delectable taste, may be with a dark cup of coffee.
Do please note that I made this mousse to feed about 20 – 30 people (albeit in tiny little cups). You could probably feed 8 – 10 people with leftovers. Make in little individual serving pots, or one large, luscious bowlful – its up to you. But do make sure you add the whipped cream on top (and a few chocolate shavings or nuggets) – its all about the contrast and layers of flavour.
Makes about 4 – 5 cups
- 10 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 72%) broken into chunks
- 6 tbsp butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 + 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 6 eggs, separated
- 3 + 3 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 + 1 cups cream
- 2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- Chocolate chunks or curls to decorate
Fill a saucepan with boiling water, and place a small metal bowl on top. Melt the chocolate in the small bowl, and add the butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in the egg yolks (they will stiffen the mixture), salt, and vanilla. Stir well, and take off the heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl, and set aside.
Whip the egg whites, adding 3 tbsp of light brown sugar, until the egg whites are very stiff, and hold high peaks. Fold about 1/3rd of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then gently fold the rest in. Cover the bowl, and place in the fridge.
Whip 2 cups of cream until stiff, and then remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge. Fold the cream in gently. Sprinkle the chili over the mousse in 1/2 tsp portions, and fold until completely incorporated. Taste and keep adding until to your taste. I like it hot!
Whip the remaining 1 cup of cream, 2 tbsp vanilla extract and 3 tbsp light brown sugar together and pipe or spoon over the prepared and chilled mousse. Decorate with chocolate and cool in the fridge for 2 hours minimum, or up to 24.
Serve with joy!