Recipe: Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Cream and Honeycomb »
From Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe
Contributed articles and stories
Usually known for her insightful journalism amongst Canberra's political goings on, Annabel Crabb changed her interviewing style in the ABC show, Kitchen Cabinet and even turned up with dessert ready made!
Annabel's recipe consultant on the show was Wendy Sharpe, also one of Annabel's childhood friends and together they bring you the book Special Delivery - favourite food to make and take.
Here's one of the recipes from the book which is fit for a Prime Minister!*
Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Cream & Honeycomb
This delightful confection went to Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull's farm at Scone, in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, when we were filming the third series of Kitchen Cabinet. We took the train partly because it is such a terrific train ride, and partly because my baby daughter Kate, a determined small assistant on that series, firmly refused to travel anywhere by car, which meant we were obliged to explore all manner of transport alternatives. Still, there is no feeling quite like taking a dessert on a train to eat with someone interesting. I would definitely recommend it.
There is no use trying to fix something that isn't broken, so the mousse element here sticks to the traditional and elegant formula: chocolate, eggs and sugar. The fastest way to improve chocolate is by adding raspberries and cream, so I did that. The honeycomb? Well, that is just theatre.
- 120 g (4¼ oz) chocolate, including at least 80 g(2¾ oz) dark chocolate
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 165 g (5¾ oz/¾ cup) granulated sugar
- 1½ tablespoons runny honey
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 100 ml (3½ fl oz) double (thick) cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste – optional
- 50 g (1¾ oz) fresh or frozen raspberries
First melt the chocolate. Conventional wisdom has it that you should always melt chocolate in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. But I would suggest that it isn't absolutely necessary to clatter about with bain maries and the like just to melt a bit of chocolate when you can treat it gently in the microwave (on medium for bursts of 30 seconds) or grate it into a hot pan that has been taken off the heat.
Leave the melted chocolate to cool slightly.
Next, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks with a tiny pinch of salt, then slowly add the sugar and keep whisking until you have stiff peaks.
Lightly beat the egg yolks, then add to the slightly cooled chocolate and use a whisk to combine. Gently fold in about a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest to the mixture, retaining as much air as possible. Pour into a serving dish (or small glasses) and leave to set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
With all that waiting for the mousse to be ready, you have acres of time to put together those showy honeycomb shards. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Combine the sugar, honey and 1½ tablespoons of water in a tall, heavy-based pan – use a stockpot, if you have one – and heat until it registers 154°C (310°F) on a sugar thermometer. This is called the 'cracking stage'. If you don't have a thermometer, test by dropping a little of the syrup into a bowl of cold water and then fishing out the result: if it is still stretchy, keep cooking; if it 'snaps', it is ready.
Once you are at temperature, take the pan off the heat and sift in the bicarbonate of soda. Be careful – the mixture is awfully hot and it will foam and rise up the pan. Stir with a wooden spoon (or something else non-conductive) until combined, then quickly pour it onto the prepared baking sheet, getting it as thin as you can and smoothing it out with a spatula. Leave the honeycomb for at least 15 minutes to set. Store in a cool, dry place – but not the fridge, or it will go sticky.
Just before serving (or transporting), make the raspberry cream. Whip the cream and vanilla to soft peaks. Fold through the raspberries, crushing them a little as you go to give pretty red streaks, then spoon over the mousse. Break your honeycomb into shards and use to decorate.
A note about raw egg
You will notice that because we are not doing any cooking of the chocolate mousse, the raw egg will stay, well, raw. So think again if you are catering for people who might be nervous about eating raw egg – that is, pregnant women, the very young, the very old, or anyone who is unwell.
If you live in a perfect world, you will have collected lots of little glass yoghurt containers or straight-sided jars to decant your mousse into. Otherwise, it is absolutely fine to set everything together in a large bowl and scoop out onto individual plates at your destination. It also feels more pleasingly old school served this way. Don't forget the honeycomb shards.
*Ed: yes we know he wasn't PM at the time, but Annabel may well have had more than sneaking suspicions and anyway, it reads well!
Annabel Crabb is the ABC's chief online political writer, writes a weekly opinion column for Fairfax, and is the bestselling author of The Wife Drought. Wendy Sharpe is a recipe consultant on Kitchen Cabinet and fellow baking tragic.
Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe is published by Murdoch Books (Sydney, NSW; hc 232 pp) and retails in Australia for RRP A$39.99
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