Everything Chocolate: Chocolate Mousse with Puff Pastry Hearts

Attention fellow chocolate connoisseurs! As promised I’m bringing you yet another delicious recipe from the land of sweets. For those of you who are out of the loop, last month I decided to embark on a year of chocolate challenge, courtesy of the Food Network Magazine. You remember January’s Blackout Cake we made a few weeks back? Well, this month’s is even better, tying right into the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert: Chocolate Mousse with Puff Pastry Hearts. When it comes to this lovey, dovey holiday, Jacob and I aren’t ones to really care about boxes of chocolate or flowers. Instead, I made a nice steak dinner (more on that recipe to come), we ate around the dinner table for once and we indulged in a fabulous, chocolate delicacy. The creaminess of this dish pairs perfectly with the flakiness of the puff pastry. And the sweetness — the mouthwatering, delicious, comforting taste of pure sweetness. Can you tell I’m in love with this dish? Despite it’s somewhat complicated and time consuming labor, I guarantee the end result is well worth the patience. Bon appétit!

chocolatemousee

INGREDIENTS
● 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
● 6 tablespoons room temperature butter
● 2 eggs (yolks and whites separated), 1 egg for brushing
● 6 tablespoons, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
● 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
● 1 teaspoon almond extract
● 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
● Whipped cream

DIRECTIONS
chocolatemoussechocolatemousse1. Melting the Chocolate.Combine the semisweet chocolate and cut up pieces of butter in a small heat proof bowl.  Yet again, this recipe calls for a double boil technique. Bring a small saucepan of water to a slight simmer and set the chocolate mixture over the pot until it begins to warm. Stir the chocolate and butter so that  everything is combined. Continue stirring until the ingredients melt and the chocolate is smooth and shiny. Carefully take the bowl off the pot and set aside to cool.

chocolatemoussechocolatemoussechocolatemoussechocolatemousse2. Creamy goodness can sometimes be a bitch. I say this because this part of the recipe is probably the most difficult. But don’t worry, I promise you’ll get through it. In another large, heat proof bowl, beat the 2 egg yolks, 6 tablespoons sugar, brandy, almond extract and 2 tablespoons hot water. Continue beating the mixture until all the ingredients are combined and the mixture has turned a pale yellow (7 minutes). Once again, set up a double boil in a large enough pot to fit the bowl without being submerged. This is where it gets tricky. As the mixture warms, continue beating it until the size triples and thickens exponentially (8 minutes). At this point, my beater started overheating in my hand, and  splattered sugar and egg mixture all over my stove, just an FYI. I was honestly left wondering who in the world comes up with these intricate details? Like I said, creamy goodness in this instance was a bitch. Once that’s finished, carefully lift the bowl out of the pot and place it in an ice water bath. More fun again as the beating continues until the mixture it’s cooled and even thicker. Thought the beating was over? Not a chance. Gradually beat in the melted chocolate from earlier until everything is incorporated into a sweet mixture of more creamy goodness.

IMG_8100chocolatemoussechocolatemoussechocolatemousse3. All downhill from here. If you thought I was getting a little crazy back there, I apologize. While there’s more beating in our near future, it’s a little more delightful this time around —we’re making meringue. In layman’s terms, it’s a combination of egg whites and sugar. If there was a top five list of delectable things to try, this is one of them. Here’s how it starts. In a bowl, beat together the 2 egg whites and 1 teaspoon of sugar until a soft, fluffy mixture forms with stiff peaks. It’s like making clouds out of thin air. Take about 1/4 of the meringue and stir it into the chocolate mixture. Once that’s incorporated, pour the rest of it into the chocolate, and carefully fold it in until all that’s left is light, fluffy, creamy, chocolately goodness. I know — it’s overwhelming. Scoop the mousse into four 7-8 ounce ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least four hours. You can also do what I did and leave them in overnight to eat the next day.

chocolatemousseIMG_8126IMG_81354. The hearts. Spending so much effort on the mousse part of this recipe almost makes you forget the Valentine part of it — the puff pastry hearts. I recommend making these the next day if at all possible, when the nightmare of beating chocolate goodness has passed and a new day makes you feel fresh. First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper topped with cooking spray ( just in case). On another sheet of parchment paper, roll out the thawed puff pastry dough and cut out four heart shapes with a cookie cutter or fee-handed. Brush each heart with the beaten egg mixture and place in the freezer for about five minutes or until slightly stiff. Place the hearts on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, when the hearts puff up and turn golden brown. Let cool before transferring them to the dish.

And that’s it! As promised, the time has finally come to enjoy your hard labor and indulge. Just top with some whipped cream and you’re good to go. This dish is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. Once you make yours, I guarantee you’ll feel the same. Until next month, enjoy!

chocolatemousse

 See the original version of this recipe by following this link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chocolate-mousse-with-puff-pastry-hearts.html

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