Friday, September 12, 2008

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

A while back, on another food blog, Bake or Break, I saw an outstanding chocolate dessert, a Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake. I spent days and nights thinking about this cake, but never had the courage to make it, mostly because the ingredient list and involved steps were intimidating. Um, so when I finally got a hold of the ingredients for this cake, I set to work and immediately fumbled. The shortbread base turned out overcooked and shrank so much, it didn't fit in the cake pan like it should. It was a mess and I'll spare you the details. But the mousse-- it was perfect. And no eggs, either, which is critical for me when making mousse. Something about raw eggs in many mousse recipes turns me off. This mousse had nary an egg, and big chocolate flavor with subtle nuances of hazelnut, thanks to Nutella. It was light and fluffy and impossible to keep my spoon out of. Full recipe after the jump.

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
3 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella (5 oz)
1/2 cup mascarpone (1/4 lb)
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring, just until gelatin is melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk in chocolate hazelnut spread until combined and remove from heat.

Whisk together mascarpone and chocolate hazelnut mixture in a large bowl. Beat together cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in another large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed until just combined, then increase speed to high and beat until cream just holds soft peaks. Whisk one third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream until well combined. Spoon filling into ramekins, gently smoothing top, then chill, covered, at least 3 hours.

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