The lightest French dark chocolate mousse with no cream but the juice of 2 passion fruits - served with the nuttiest caramel: an almond and pistachio nougatine
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.
Meanwhile, sieve out the seeds from the passion fruits. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites (using a stand mixer or electric beaters) with the sugar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the passion fruit juice to the whites then the egg yolk and continue to whip until firm.
Fold the chocolate into 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. The mousse can be made in advance, chilled overnight and is excellent served next day.