I’ve never understood why practically every country has a different date for Mother’s Day, yet Father’s Day is the same pretty much world-wide. It makes no sense. And it’s a particular pain if, like me, you happen to celebrate Mother’s Day of a country different to the one in which you live. In my case, since my wonderful mum is French, we always celebrate French Mother’s Day which happens to be today, but I live in the UK where Mother’s Day was way back in April. By the end of May there are obviously no Mother’s Day cards or gifts anywhere, which means that I have to be super-organised (not one of my greatest skills) and buy a card and gift two months in advance. The challenge is then remembering where I’ve put them two months later. Not always as easy as it sounds, but thankfully this year I managed.
I actually shouldn’t really be complaining too much, because I still have to celebrate British Mother’s Day for my Scottish grandmother. Living in the UK, this is much easier than trying to keep track of both French and British Mother’s Days whilst living in Norway, which, you’ve guessed it, has a completely different Mother’s Day. Oh and on top of that, none of the available Mother’s Day cards are in English. Nightmare. Though easily solved by a blank card with flowers on the cover…!
As part of her Fête des Mères, not only did my mum get a card in a language that we actually speak fluently, but I asked her up to St Andrews for lunch. I love cooking for my mum – she loves pretty much everything, appreciates good food, and there’s the added bonus of knowing that even if I screw up whatever I’m attempting, she’ll still love me. In my usual bizarre logic, when I was planning the menu, I started with dessert. My problem was that I had too many options, too many dishes I wanted to try out. My mum loves chocolate, so I settled on a recipe for chocolate and hazelnut mousse in chocolate cups that I happened across a few months ago and that I’ve been wanting to try out ever since. (Yes, I did the one thing you should never do when inviting people: serve a dish you’ve not previously tested. I do this
far too often. One day it will go horribly wrong, but thankfully that was not the case today.) My mum loves mousse, and I know she never really makes it for herself, so it was a pretty obvious choice.
The mousse was a fabulous idea – my mum absolutely loved it! She loved it so much that I sent her home with a small jar of extra mousse. Oh and all my textbooks and folders from the last four years of university. I’m a great daughter like that (don’t worry, she knew about the books beforehand – the surprises that I spring on people tend to be more of the culinary variety). But back to the mousse. Ya, it was yummy. I think that’s pretty much all there is to say. Except that it took far longer than I was expecting, mostly because contrary to the original instructions, the mousse did have to spend a little stint in the fridge. But that’s totally fine because I have loads of time on my hands at the moment.
All that remains for me to say before sharing the recipe is: Bonne Fête des Mères, Maman – je t’aime!
Chocolate & hazelnut mousse in chocolate cups
Makes about 16 mini mousses
Recipe from Dulce Delight
The chocolate cups can be prepared the evening before and stored in the fridge until ready to be used. However, if you really don’t have time to make them, you can also just pipe the mousse into mini paper liners (but it’s less fun!). The original recipe includes a video demonstration, so do head over if you’d like to see the progression of the recipe visually. I used silicone mini muffin moulds, because I had them, but the original recipe uses paper liners and that seems to have worked perfectly fine as well!
For the cups:
170g dark chocolate (around 70%)
For the mousse:
130g dark chocolate (around 70%)
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp icing sugar
240g double cream
20g ground toasted hazelnuts
3-4 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
Chopped hazelnuts or flaked white chocolate, to decorate (optional)
For the cups:
1. Melt the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a spoon towards the end to make sure the chocolate has melted smoothly.
2. Set out 16 mini muffin/petit four paper liners or silicon moulds on a baking tray or plate (something that is freezer-proof). Spoon about 1 tsp of melted chocolate into one liner and paint the chocolate up the inner sides of the liner using a paint brush (a clean one, obviously). Make the coating as even as possible. Repeat for each liner/mould, and then place the tray or plate in the freezer for at least 30 mins.
3. Once the first chocolate coat has set, re-melt the remaining chocolate if necessary, and re-coat the inner sides of each liner, looking out for any translucent areas that indicate that the chocolate coating is too thin. Return to the freezer for a further 30 mins at least.
4. Once the second coat has set, remove one cup from the freezer and carefully remove the silicone mould or paper mould by peeling away from the top edge. Set the chocolate cup on a large plate. Repeat for each chocolate cup (only remove them from the freezer one-by-one so that they remain as cool and hard as possible – you don’t want them to start softening or melting!), and once all have been removed, store the chocolate cups in the fridge until required.
For the mousse:
5. Melt the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
6. In a large heat-proof bowl, briefly whisk the egg yolks, icing sugar and 1 ½ tbsp water. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly by hand for 6 mins as the mixture cooks and thickens. After 6 mins, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk for a further 3 mins using an electric whisk.
7. Fold the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture and stir until thickened. Add the ground hazelnuts and hazelnut liqueur and mix with a spatula until thickened.
8. In a clean bowl, whisk the double cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold one third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Once fully incorporated, carefully fold in half the remaining whipped cream, and again, once fully incorporated, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. If the mousse is not suitably set, place in the fridge for about 1 hour.
9. Remove the chocolate cups from the fridge. Fill a piping bag with the mousse and pipe into the chocolate cups with a flourish to make them look pretty. To decorate, sprinkle with some chopped hazelnuts or flaked white chocolate (optional). Store in the fridge until ready to serve.