Bitter chocolate blancmange

Dessert: serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online


The nearest equivalent to this that I can think of is chocolate pannacotta. Note the lack of any cream used throughout, which is probably why it tastes so good when eaten with cream!

2 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water until fully softened
450ml skimmed milk
75g bitter chocolate, cut up into very small pieces
a tiny pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
4 large egg yolks
60g best cocoa powder
100ml hot, freshly made espresso coffee -- or very strong black filter coffee
Note: Have ready four metal dariole moulds (approximately 150-160ml capacity) very lightly smeared with oil (almond is excellent) and kept chilled in the fridge.

Pour the milk into a pan and add the chocolate. Place over a low heat and, constantly stirring, gently allow the chocolate to melt into the milk. Give the mixture a brief whisk and set aside. Briefly beat together the sugar, egg yolks and cocoa until thick, and then add the pan of chocolate-flavoured milk to them. Gently whisk together and then pour straight back into the (used) pan. Make a thinly textured custard with this mixture, being careful not to allow it to
boil, but be assured that it does, actually, lightly thicken.

Now lift the softened gelatine leaves from their soaking water, hand-squeeze dry and dissolve in the hot coffee -- which will take seconds. Once the gelatine has fully melted into the coffee, whisk it into the chocolate custard. Finally, pass the entire assembly through a fine sieve into a pouring jug. Decant into the (oiled) moulds and place in the fridge to set -- for at least two hours. Once set, lightly press a small sheet of clingfilm over their surfaces and return to the fridge until needed.

To serve, run a small knife around the inside of each mould and, to alleviate their unmoulding, briefly dip each one into a small bowl or saucepan of hot water. Invert the loosened mousse on to small, chilled plates.

It is essential to eat this with some loosely beaten, lightly sweetened, cream
- or maybe with a little vanilla added, too.

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