Monday, 23 June 2008

Mont Diavolo (sort of)

My brother graduated from high school on Friday, and today is the first meal he’s had at home since then, so I offered to make him whatever dessert he wanted. His main requirement was that there be lots of chocolate, and both chocolate cake and chocolate mousse were mentioned. A little bit of searching unearthed this is an old Sainsbury’s chocolate book.

The original recipe was a three-layered affair, with a chocolate cream-mousse, chocolate sponge cake and chocolate icing. The very first change I made was to make a simple chocolate mousse instead of the complicated one in the recipe, which called for a litre of cream and gelatine powder. The second change I decided upon during the construction of the dessert, and that was to omit the icing. It was already rich enough!

This is a slightly more complex recipe than I’m used to attempting anyway, but it was fun to make, and looked quite impressive! The cake part is a Genoese sponge, made by beating the sugar and eggs over heat until they double in size and become stiff. The cake this makes is quite dry and very rich.

The chocolate mousse recipe I used didn’t quite work perfectly, and I really should find a new one – I’ve had trouble with this recipe before. It always ends up denser than I want it to. In this instance, that probably wasn’t a bad thing, because it would help hold up the sponge layer!

The cake went down very well (except for my Gran’s slightly-more-numerous-than-necessary comments about her cholesterol levels). It was very rich and needed the strawberries and cream to lighten it a little (vanilla ice cream may have worked better). Whilst not personally my favourite – I’m more likely to go for a fruity dessert than a chocolate one – I am anticipating repeat requests!

Mont Diavolo

Genoese cake
100g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
150g vanilla sugar (or 150g sugar and ½ tsp vanilla powder)
40g unsalted butter

1. Heat the over to 180°C/350°F
2. break the eggs into a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of hot (not boiling) water and beat in the sugar for 6-8 minutes until the mixture doubles in volume and thickens to stand in soft peaks.
3. Sift all the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold them in gently.
4. melt the butter then fold it in gently.
5. pour into a 30x36 cm baking tray, pre-lined with baking parchment, and bake for 12 minutes until just springy.
6. cool a little, then turn out onto a piece of sugared baking parchment.

Chocolate mousse
3 eggs
6oz dark chocolate

1. melt the chocolate in a bowl over bowling water then allow to cool until tepid.
2. Separate the eggs.
3. mix the yolks into the tepid chocolate.
4. Beak the egg whites until they form stiff peaks then fold into the chocolate mixture.

1. Line a pudding basin or small (around 2 litre) glass bowl with aluminium foil. Sugar the foil.
2. Cut out the cake so that it lines the basin.
3. Pour the mousse into the cake.
4. Chill for at least 8 hours.
5. Turn out onto a plate and serve with strawberries and cream (or ice cream).

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