Chocolate & Star Anise Mousse Cake

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This is more like a chocolate mousse that has been baked to form a crust. It’s flourless, which is perfect for people on a gluten-free diet, and it’s also incredibly rich. You can vary the flavours - adding 1 cup of ground roasted hazelnuts to the egg yolks in place of the star anise works well. Serve with plain whipped cream or crème fraîche, or it goes down a treat with tamarind ice cream, a combination that brings east and west together deliciously. Here I make the choice for you!

Ingredients

Mousse Cake

  • 300g (11oz) dark bitter chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa fat)
  • 150g (5oz) unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • teaspoons freshly ground star anise, sieved
  • 50g (oz) caster sugar

Tamarind Ice Cream

  • 7 egg yolks
  • 200ml (7fl oz) honey
  • 300ml (11fl oz) milk
  • 300ml (11fl oz) double cream
  • 200ml (7fl oz) tamarind paste

Method

Line the base and sides of a 20cm (8in) spring-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper and set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks with the star anise and 2 tablespoons of the sugar for half a minute. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix well. Beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until very stiff, quickly fold one-third of the whites into the chocolate mix, then gently fold in the remainder and pour the mix into the cake tin. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the tin with foil, sealing well to keep the heat in so that the steam can soften the crust. Once it’s cold put in the fridge and leave for at least 4 hours before giving in to temptation.

To make the ice cream, whisk the yolks and half the honey together for 1 minute. Bring the milk, the cream and the remaining honey to the boil in a large pan and gently whisk into the egg yolks. Return the mix to the pan and stir continuously on a low heat for 4-6 minutes until the custard coats the back of the spoon. Pour into a bowl and mix in the tamarind paste. Stir every few minutes until cool, then leave in the fridge to go completely cold. Churn in an ice-cream machine to the manufacturer’s instructions.