Sunday, August 31, 2014

#SundaySupper: Witchy Chocolate Mousse with Culinary Fairy Dust

This week the #SundaySupper crew is filling (virtual) tantalizing trays. Think cheese platters and charcuterie. Imagine cocktails and shooters. Uncharacteristically,  being the savory-gal that I am, I opted to share a dessert. But since this dessert has to be served in mini portions - it's potent and decadent - and because it's jaw-droppingly delicious, I decided it was my pick for the event. Here's one of my friend's reactions when I put them out on the table for one dinner party a few years back. It's one of my favorite candid reactions to something I've made.


About the name of my dish: 'Witchy.'  It's spiked with Liquore StregaLiquore Strega, Witches' Brew, is an Italian herbal liqueur whose bright golden hue comes from the presence of saffron in its formulation.  I remember when I first saw the sunny bottle on a shelf at a bar in Rome.  The bartender let me taste it and when I asked what was in it, he answered: "Tante cose, ma il colore viene da il zafferano." [Many things, but its color comes from saffron.]

Saffron, mint, fennel, and almost seventy other herbs are blended together to make this liqueur.  I was immediately smitten.

About the second part of the name: 'Culinary Fairy Dust.' That's what I think of fennel pollen. It adds something magical to any dish. I have folded it into my La Fée Verte Olive Oil Shortbread, added it to my Roasted Fennel & Cannellini Dip, and garnished my End-of-Days Bloody Orange Mary with it. It's magic I tell you. Magic!

I typically like my chocolate mousse naked.  Minds out of the gutter, please! I don't like to eat chocolate mousse while unclad, though I've never tried that. I could like that, but what I meant to say is that I like to eat my chocolate mousse plain...with no toppings.  I have so many rich flavors at play in my mousse - with espresso and liqueur - that unadulterated seems best - just the mousse and a spoon. 

But every now and then I come across something, a flavor, that speaks to me.  And when I smelled fennel pollen, it said, "Sprinkle me on top of chocolate mousse!"  Just to be clear, food doesn't actually talk to me.  I don't hear little voices in my head.  But I do have bursts of culinary inspiration and for my canister of fennel pollen, chocolate mousse was it.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate
  • ½ C espresso
  • ½ C Liquore Strega*
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 C anise-infused heavy cream**
  • ¼ C sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • pinch of pink Himalaya salt


Procedure
Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or bain marie over low heat. Stir in the espresso and liqueur. Cool to room temperature. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time.Whip the cream until thick. Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the cream. Fold the egg white-whipped cream mixture into the chocolate mixture. Pour into individual serving glasses and refrigerate for – at least – 2 hours before serving.


*If you do not have any Liquore Strega - it is available through BevMo! - Sambuca or Galliano make fine substitutes.

**To make the anise-infused heavy cream, put 1 T of anise seeds into cold cream and let it infuse while you are melting the chocolate.

Once the mousse has set, top with a dollop of unsweetened whip cream.  Dress it up with a dusting of fennel pollen.
Here's what the rest of the crew shared...

Savory Bites:
Sweet Treats:


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12 comments :

  1. Oh my... what a fantastic dessert! Who knew chocolate mousse could be taken to such a delightful level. Love the name of this recipe too.

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    1. Thanks, Renee. It IS fantastic. Hope you'll try it.

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  2. Such extraordinary flavors! Truly a palate pleaser in each yummy bite!

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    1. Thanks, Liz. Can't wait to work my way through all of the yummy posts.

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  3. Just added Strega and fennel pollen to my shopping list !

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  4. Thank you for the intro to Liquore Strega and fennel pollen fairy dust! You have elevated mousse and I'd love a bite (or 2 or 3...!)

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  5. Fairy dust? I love it!!! Awesome recipe :)

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  6. As long as this has no signs of black licorice flavor like fennel usually does, I'm in!

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  7. I can see why you serve these in small portions - so decadent! I want one though... :)

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  8. Just the name was enough to get me excited, but just seeing the ingredients was...wow! An awesome combo, and I love espresso flavors so much. Thanks for sharing!

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