Chocolate and Cayenne Mousse with Candied Hazelnuts

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
30 min
30 min
25 min

8 servings

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur (recommended: Frangelico)
  • Small chocolate shavings or chocolate nibs, for garnish
  • Candied Hazelnuts, recipe follows
  • In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pot of hot water, melt the chocolate with the butter and cayenne pepper, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir with a heavy wooden spoon until smooth. Return to the heat and, 1 at a time, add the yolks, beating well after the addition of each. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.

  • In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until stiff.

  • In a third bowl, beat the cream until it becomes frothy. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the hazelnut liqueur and continue beating until it holds soft peaks.

  • Fold the egg whites gently but thoroughly into the chocolate mixture until no white streaks appear. Gradually fold in the whipped cream, reserving about 1/2 cup for garnish.

  • Transfer to a large decorative serving bowl and refrigerate until well chilled.

  • To serve, spoon the reserved whipped cream on top and garnish with chocolate shavings and candied hazelnuts.

Candied Hazelnuts:
  • Butter or vegetable oil, for greasing

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and rough chopped

  • Lightly grease a 10-inch square of aluminum foil with butter or vegetable oil and set aside.

  • Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally, until the sugar turns a golden amber color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the hazelnuts and stir to coat. Continue cooking until hazelnuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to the prepared aluminum foil, using a spoon to spread into a thin layer, and set aside to cool completely. Break into pieces and chop, if necessary, before serving.

  • Yield: 1/2 cup candied nuts

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