Chocolate and chestnut mousse

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I first tasted sweet chestnut purée years ago in a café in Paris and, along with chestnuts roasted on the street over smoky coals, they became but a distant memory of great trips abroad until, hooray, Australia started growing its own chestnuts and finally started producing its own purées.

This is a very simple chocolate mousse that I’ve topped with shop-bought sweet chestnut purée. The combination makes for a truly decadent dessert—but you do need to serve it with a bit of whipped cream, to bring all the flavours together.

Ingredients

  • 100 g ( oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 3 large free-range eggs, separated
  • 120 g ( oz) sweet chestnut purée
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) cream, whipped

Method

Put the chopped chocolate and brandy in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and is smooth, then remove the bowl from the heat.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating in each one with a wooden spoon until it is well incorporated. The chocolate will seize and stiffen at first but should be smooth and glossy by the time you have added the third yolk. If not, add a tablespoon of cream to the mixture to loosen it a little.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until they form stiff peaks. Add one-third of the egg white to the chocolate and gently fold to combine. Add another third and gently work it into the mixture before adding the final third of the whites. The mixture should be quite smooth and uniform in colour.

Spoon the mixture into six bowls or glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

To serve, top each mousse with a tablespoon of chestnut purée, then add a generous spoonful of whipped cream.