It happened last night. Excitement set in as this French Chocolate Passion Mousse was a simple experiment that worked.
It’s based on a classic French dark chocolate mousse with its particularity being that it uses NO CREAM. However – I didn’t have enough egg whites and so experimented by adding some passion fruit juice.
The result? It had lightened it up even further, the taste was sensational and so I was rather excited about it. Those of you that heard me on Instagram stories will agree that I sounded excited.
Excited in the French Kitchen – Be Warned!
Just don’t tell the French. Mention that you’re ‘excité’ in French and oh-là-là – your friends will tell you to take a cold shower. Being excited just doesn’t have the same meaning here.
In the early days on arriving in Paris, I apparently told a few friends and – even worse – Antoine’s family that I was excitée to see (rather ‘had the hots’ for) all the farmers coming to the market, showing off their organic produce. It’s just as well I didn’t babble on about their radishes and carrots.
I’ve also had many hot flushes for macarons too. I still can’t help becoming excited. It’s when these macaron feet form in the oven.
Just saying, “Ça m’excite” is even worse – and I know I’m not alone on that one. The French don’t have a real equivalent of saying that they’re excited about something. They are more likely to shrug their shoulders and say, ‘C’est cool‘, or ‘C’est chouette“. They don’t become as bubbly and enthusiastic as we do – in fact, it’s seen as slightly childlike.
I don’t care any more. I’ll forever be a bubbly-sounding kid, excited in the kitchen.
So, when there’s a jam jar filled with leftover egg whites from the ever-growing egg yolk recipe collection, I still become excited. Either I could make a batch of homemade macarons – or I could make this light and fluffy French chocolate mousse – now with passion in it!
For Nutty Caramel Lovers
For nutty caramel lovers, I added a rather addictive Almond-Pistachio Nougatine. All because it’s February. Amour, love, chocolate, caramel and passion is in the air!
It’s based on this easy nougatine recipe, inspired by the famous Parisian rice pudding topping of chef Stéphane Jégo of l’Ami Jean restaurant in the 7th. I encourage you to try it – and if you can’t finish it all, ask for the famous Riz au Lait Doggy Bag!
This version is so quick and easy to make. Unlike the original that uses 4 different kinds of nuts, I’ve cut it to my 2 favourites: almonds and pistachios, use just organic cane sugar and good, French President butter.
French Chocolate Passion Mousse & Nougatine
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The lightest French dark chocolate mousse with no cream but the juice of a passion fruit and served with the most decadent nutty caramel almond and pistachio nougatine
- 170 g (6oz) dark chocolate (I use 72% cacao - use only good quality)
- 15 g (0.5oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
- 210 g (7.5oz) egg whites (from 6 organic eggs)
- 30 g (1oz) caster sugar
- 1 passion fruit seeds removed
- 1 egg yolk
- 140 g (5oz) slivered almonds
- 100 g (3.5oz) unsalted pistachios
- 50 g (1.75oz) butter unsalted
- 140 g (5oz) organic light brown cane sugar
Melt the chocolate and cocoa powder together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water ('bain-marie'), taking care not to overcook the chocolate (don't have the water at a rolling boil; simmer gently). As soon as the chocolate is easy to stir, switch off the heat and stir until smooth, keeping the bowl over the pan to keep warm.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites (using a stand mixer or electric beaters) with the sugar until soft peaks form. Sieve out the seeds from the passion fruit and gradually add the juice to the whites and continue to whip until firm.
Quickly stir in the egg yolk and a third of the fluffy egg whites. The chocolate will seem quite thick but don't worry - continue to stir to combine well then fold in the rest of the whites using a spatula.
Divide the mousse into 6 serving dishes and chill for at least an hour.
Place the nuts in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and lightly toast them under a hot grill for a couple of minutes. Keep your eye on them and don’t move away from the grill, as this happens quickly and you do NOT want them to burn (any burning will make the nuts bitter). Toasting them lightly brings out their natural flavour. When toasted, set them aside to cool.
In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter on a medium heat. As soon as it’s melted, add the sugar. Using a wooden spoon, initially stir the sugar and butter together, then wait about 5 minutes until the mixture starts to form a liquid and a caramel forms. As soon as this happens, stir until smooth and it’s light brown (not dark brown, otherwise bitter), add all the nuts.
Stir in the nuts until they’re all well covered and sticky in the caramel. Turn out immediately on to a patisserie mat (Silpat) or directly on to a clean, marble surface.
Leave to cool on the counter for about 10 minutes or until the caramel hardens. Store in an airtight tin or jam jar and eat within a month.
This recipe is gluten free. Serve with chocolate or exotic fruit macarons (see recipes in either of my books), top with the nougatine or serve with extra passion fruit.
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