We use Italian meringue for velvety soft mousses!
ingredients for 4 generous portions (total cost about 10E)
for the chocolate biscuit
- 50 g couverture chocolate (70%)
- 65 g butter, softened
- 40 g sugar
- 100 g (2 medium) eggs, at room temperature
- 30 g pastry flour
- zest from 1/2 citrus
- 1 pinch salt
- for the mousse
- 200 g liquid cream (at least 30% fat), well chilled
- 70 g egg whites (2 medium), at room temperature
- 115 g sugar (100 + 15)
- 30 ml water
- a few lemon drops
- citrus zest (we have used a combination of bergamot & lemon)
- 180 ml citrus juice (we haze used a combination of bergamot & lemon)
- 6 g gelatin powder
- a handful of roasted hazelnuts, chopped
- candied bergamot or lemon peels
Italian meringue is ideal for cold desserts that do not require baking.
Unlike its French cousin, where you just whip the whites with sugar, it is made by pouring hot syrup over the egg whites, while they are whipped. The hot syrup pasteurizes the whites, therefore they can be added to unbaked dessert preparations and consumed without the risks involving the formation of bacteria, such as salmonella.
One of the preparations where the Italian meringue is ideal, is the mousse.
For this dessert, we have prepared a citrus fruit scented mousse and we have placed it over a layer of a rich chocolate biscuit. The result was divine.
So to make the dessert we begin by the chocolate biscuit.
We melt the chocolate, already cut in pieces, over a double boiler and once the chocolate reaches 50oC, we add the already softened and cut into pieces butter to temper the chocolate. We mix until the butter is well incorporated to the chocolate.
Meanwhile, we briefly beat the eggs with the sugar and salt, just until they turn pale white. Not too much. We are not aiming for a puffed base. We want to keep it flat.
We add the eggs-sugar mixture to the melted chocolate- butter and we mix well to combine. We sieve the flour over the batter, we add the zests and we mix to incorporate.
We spread the mixture on a lined with parchment baking tray in a thin layer and we bake it for only 4-5 minutes at a 180oC preheated static oven. Chocolate should remain rather moist in the center. We let the biscuit cool completely.
Once the base is cool, we prepare the mousse.
We combine the juices, we take 1/3 of them and we add the gelatin to it, letting it steep inside for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, we pour the water and 100 g of the sugar in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and we gently heat them. Once the temperature of the syrup reaches about 100-105o C, we start whipping the egg whites in a stand mixer. As soon as they get foamy, we pour over them the remaining 15 g of the sugar, without stopping the mixer. We check the syrup temperature every now and then. Once it reaches 121oC, we remove the syrup from the heat, and we start pouring it slowly in a thin steady stream over the whites, without stopping the mixer. CAUTION because the syrup is too hot. We continue whipping the whites, until they cool down (the mixer bowl should become cool) and they turn really stiff and glossy.
When the 20 minutes of the soaking time of the gelatin have passed, we heat the preparation up to 45o C, then we pour inside it the rest of the juice to temper it.
Finally, we beat the chilled cream, with a hand mixer, until we turn it to a light whipped cream. For best results, be sure that you have also chilled well the bowl and whisks of the mixer.
To conclude the mousse preparation, we fold the whipped cream into the Italian meringue and then the gelatin-juice preparation and we gently mix them, until we get an homogeneous result.
Using square or round cutters we cut chocolate biscuit bases and we fill them up to the rim with the mousse. We wrap them very well with cling film and we put them for an hour in the freezer and then we move them to the fridge.
Before serving we remove the rings, we decorate with candied bergamot or lemon rinds or simply fresh zest and some chopped hazelnuts.