A bit of a detachment from the savoury food of world famous chefs today, a big block of Willie's Venezuelan 100% Pure Cacao led me to his very own recipes and a chocolate mousse...cake! If you don't about Willie Harcourt-Cooze, he's a British eccentric who's set up a successful chocolate empire mostly through the publicity of his TV show "Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory". Here he is:
Followed by a block of his chocolate:
I won't bore you with the details, but he's an interesting character with a slightly unnerving obsession with chocolate. He puts it in literally everything he cooks. Anyway, I thought that if I'm gonna cook with something as mad as 100% cacao I might as well follow him. Even 80% is really bitter, 100% is basically as inedible as raw coffee. I found his recipe for chocolate mousse cake on the channel 4 website and loved its simplicity. I'm a sucker for enjoying pure bitter chocolate, not having a real sweet tooth anything too milky or refined doesn't do a lot for me. I don't think I've bought a chocolate bar from a shop for a few years. This looked like it was gonna be pretty much pure chocolate, relatively little sugar, and only butter, no plain milk or cream. Plus, even though I'm not a dessert kinda guy, if I'm going to dive in, I love anything with eggs in it (creme brulee, bread and butter pudding, or anything with custard).
I started by melting chocolate and butter together in a bain-marie:
Whipped up 5 eggs, a vanilla pod and 200g sugar:
Then incorporated the two:
Put it into a baking paper lined cake tin, which I set in another oven bain-marie (a baking tray with boiling water halfway up the cake tin), and put that in a 160 degree oven for 30 minutes:
Out popped this:
Which I sliced into neat little triangles:
The result was even more bitter than I expected, which was no bad thing! It really was like a chocolate mousse cake - fluffy like mousse, but set like a cake. It's a good dessert to do ahead of time for a party. Though I don't know if it would be to everybody's taste. People who eat a lot of milk chocolate (girls!) will love its richness, but might find it intense - it does have a real cacao bitter feel to it. Personally, I think it's a spot-on recipe. Not only is it pretty damn simple, but the result is elegant and sophisticated. If you have really high quality chocolate like this, you don't want it disappearing into a complex watered down final dish, you want to taste it. Likewise, if your taste doesn't lean towards the bitter end of the spectrum, the recipe should work perfectly with any chocolate. To appease a wider audience I'd probably use a good 70-80% dark chocolate, and think of a way to lighten it up a bit (some thin custard or fruit?).