Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse with Cranberry Compote and Honeycomb Shards

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Ingredients

Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse

  • 225g Dark Chocolate (Minimum 70% cocoa content)
  • 200g Sugar
  • 225ml Heavy Cream
  • 7 Egg Yolks (from large eggs)
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 1tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Oranges (Zest finely grated, and juiced)
  • 50ml Grand Manier
  • ½tsp salt

Cranberry Compote

  • 300g Cranberries (washed)
  • 150g Brown Sugar
  • 1 Orange (Zest finely grated, segmented and juiced)
  • 1 Lemon (Zest finely grated and juiced)
  • ½tsp salt
  • 50ml Port Wine

Honeycomb Shards

  • 200g Sugar
  • 50g Honey
  • 1tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1tbsp Baking Soda

Instructions

Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse

  1. Place all your chocolate and butter into a bowl, and place on top of a pan of simmering water.  Make sure the bowl isn’t in direct contact with the simmering water.  Cook until the chocolate and butter has melted and completely dissolved.
  2. Place the sugar and fresh orange juice into a pan and cook under medium high heat until it boils and reaches 250°F.  The consistency should be thick and syrupy.
  3. While you’re making your orange sugar syrup, place your egg yolks, salt and vinegar into a bowl for a stand mixer.  As soon as the orange syrup reaches 250°F, turn on the machine and start whisking your eggs under medium speed for 1min, turn down the speed to low and pour your hot orange syrup into the egg yolk mixture in a slow thin steady stream until it is all incorporated.  When you’ve finished adding all your orange syrup, turn up the speed and let it run under medium high speed until the temperature of your egg mixture cools to room temperature.
  4. In a clean bowl, vigorously whisk the heavy cream until nearly quadruples in volume and reaches stiff peaks.  It should hold it’s shape when you lift it up with a whisk.
  5. Gently mix the chocolate and whipped cream together until fully mixed and homogeneous.  Gently fold the egg yolk and orange mix into the chocolate mix, first by adding ¼ of the mix and than the ¾.  Finish by adding your grand manier and orange zest to the chocolate mousse mix, and chill in the fridge until needed.

Cranberry Compote

  1. Add your cranberries, orange segment and juice, brown sugar and salt to a pan and cook under medium high heat until it reaches a boil, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 10-15mins.
  2. Finish by adding your lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest and port wine.  Allow to cool and than chill in the refrigerator.

Honeycomb Shards

  1. Lay a piece of non-stick parchment paper onto a roasting pan or tray.
  2. Add your sugar, honey, lemon juice and a splash of water to a large pan, and cook under medium high heat until the mixture turns into a amber coloured caramel and reaches 320-330°F.
  3. As soon as the caramel reaches 320-330°F, add all of your baking soda to your caramel and quickly stir it in.  The mixture should immediately swell and rise, quickly pour the mix onto your parchment paper and allow to cool and harden.
  4. As soon as it cools and hardens, using the back of a large heavy knife hit the honeycomb several times until it shatters.

Assemble

  • You have a few options when it comes to plating and assembling this dish.  You can pour the chocolate mousse while it’s still fluid directly into a cup such as a wine glass and allow it to chill and set, before pouring the cranberry compote on top and garnishing with your honeycomb shards.  Another option is to allow your chocolate mousse to chill and firm up before scooping with the large spoon, or place it inside a piping bag and pipe it onto a dish or plate.
  • In this presentation, I spooned the cranberry compote onto the plate, before spooning out a large quenelle of chocolate mousse at the center of the dish and garnished with honeycomb shards and a sprig of mint at top.

Notes

  • This is a great dish around the holidays, either for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  With the cranberry compote being very versatile, as it can be used for both sweet and savoury applications.  The cranberry compote works especially well as a accompaniment to Roast Duck, Venison, or Boar.
  • I can truly honestly say, that this is one of the few original dishes that I came up with all on my own.  Meaning, I didn’t take inspiration or adapt from another recipe.  I wouldn’t say the flavour combinations is anything new.  Chocolate and oranges, and chocolate with berries are both natural flavour combinations that have always worked well together.  But composing the dish, doing a chocolate mousse and pairing it with the cranberry compote and honeycomb shards was solely my own design.
  • The combination of the chocolate, orange and cranberries really work well together. This is a very well balanced dish, with the strong bitter dark chocolate, notes kept in check with the sweet zesty oranges and acidic cranberries.  Both the cranberry compote and honeycomb shards offer a nice contrast against the light airy chocolate mousse.
  • For the chocolate mousse, you can substitute the grand manier with either cointreau, triple sec, or limoncello.  Similarly, with the cranberry compote, you can substitute the port wine with either grand manier, cointreau, triple sec, or limoncello.  It wouldn’t have the same effect, but it would still work well and resonate with the orange and lemon notes in the dish.
  • It’s important to note that you really need a candy thermometer to accurately check the temperature of all the various sugars you’re cooking in order to to be successful in replicating this dish.  Particularly the honeycomb recipe, as the honey will discolour the sugar to a golden hue, making it difficult to tell by eye whether or not your sugar has cooked to a caramel?  

 

 

 

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