Thursday, February 18, 2010

White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Meringue Shells with Raspberry Coulis

I made this lovely dessert for my family on our Valentine's celebration. It was a complete success! One little recommendation though, if where you live it is high in humidity, the meringue shells will have to be baked twice as long as the original recipe calls for.


- For the white chocolate mousse:

5 ounces good quality white chocolate (just slightly less than 1 cup)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
*2 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier liqueur
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup cold heavy cream

- For the Raspberry Coulis:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 water
2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed and picked over (I used frozen)

- For the Chocolate Meringue Shells:

3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted

- For garnish (Optional):

1 large orange, segmented
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
Sprigs fresh mint
Shaved Bittersweet chocolate


For the White Chocolate Mousse: In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water, place the chocolate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. (The high fat content of the mixture may cause it to separate, but continue whisking and it will come back together). Add the Grand Marnier and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff, and fold into the egg whites. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate to lighten, and then fold back into the egg white bowl until blended, being careful not to over mix.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Raspberry Coulis:Combine the sugar and water in a medium heavy pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the raspberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the syrup thickens and reduces by 3/4 in volume, about 5 minutes. (If you notice my picture, I ended my coulis here, only for a matter of time).Transfer to a blender or food processor, and puree on high speed. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down with a rubber spatula to extract as much juice as possible. If too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time to reach the desired consistency.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The coulis can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)

For the Chocolate Meringue Shells:Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick mat, such as a silpat.

In a very clean large bowl, using very clean beaters, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Beating, gradually add the sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form and the mixture becomes glossy. Fold in the cocoa powder and transfer to a pastry bag with a plain tip. Pipe the meringue into large circles onto the prepared baking sheet, making the sides higher than the center to make a bowl-shape for holding the mousse and leaving 1-inch space between each. (Alternatively, drop the meringue with a spoon onto the baking sheet and form large circles, pressing with the back of the spoon to make indentations in the centers.) Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven until the meringues are dry and the tops have slightly cracked, about 1 hour.

Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature. (The meringues can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

To assemble the dessert and serve: Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the raspberry coulis into the center of 4 dessert plates and top with a chocolate meringue shell. Divide the mousse between the four plates and drizzle some more raspberry coulis on top. For garnish, you can decoratively arrange the orange segments, raspberries and mint around the meringues and sprinkle the shaved chocolate on top. Serve immediately.

(*) The original recipe uses two meringue shells, but it was too big of a dessert for us. The original assembling was: Coulis - Meringue Shell - Mousse - fruits (oranges/raspberries) - meringue shell and mint.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse (Adapted)

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