A Riot in Chocolate – Chocolate Dreams
This dessert combines chocolate in all its most luscious forms: creamy mousse, tender cake, ice cream, and crisp cookies. The tea flavoring in the ice cream adds an unusual and delicious note to the dramatic dessert. The chef uses Valrhona chocolate, but any high-quality imported chocolate may be used.
- Chocolate Mousse
- Valrhona Extra-bitter Chocolate - 8 ounces, chopped
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Sugar - 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick), melted
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Chocolate Cake
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks), at room temperature
- Sugar - 2-3/4 cups
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 1 cup
- Eggs - 3
- Cake flour - 3-1/2 cups
- Baking Powder - 1-1/2 teaspoons
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Warm Water - 2 cups
- Chocolate–Tea Ice Cream
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 4 cups
- Milk - 2 cups
- Earl Grey tea bags - 8
- Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Egg Yolks - 12
- Valrhona extra-bitter chocolate - 8 ounces, chopped
- Chocolate Wrapping
- Valrhona extra-bitter chocolate - 8 ounces
- Fresh mint sprigs
- Chocolate Tuile Cookies (recipe follows)
- Chocolate sauce (recipe follows)
- Apricot or other fruit sauce (recipe follows)
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick), at room temperature
- Honey - 1/4 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
- Confectioners’ Sugar - 1-1/4 cup
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 1/4 cup
- Egg Whites (about 2 or 3) - 1/4 cup
- Fruit Sauce (Puree) - Makes about 4 cups
- Fresh Berries - 8 cups, or 4 cups peeled, diced fresh fruit
- Sugar - 4 tablespoons, or more to taste
- Fresh lemon juice - 2 teaspoons
- Chocolate Sauce (Makes about 4 cups)
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Half-and-half - 2 cups
- Bittersweet or Semisweet chocolate - 8 ounces, chopped
- Unsweetened Chocolate - 8 ounces, chopped
To make the chocolate mousse: Combine the chocolate and milk in a large bowl. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large saucepan and place the bowl on top. Stir until the chocolate is melted, then remove the bowl and keep the chocolate mixture warm.
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in another large bowl. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and beat until the eggs are warmed. Remove from heat and beat until the egg mixture is pale and thick, then gradually add the melted chocolate and melted butter to the eggs, mixing just until incorporated. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
In a deep bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream gently into the chocolate mixture until fully incorporated. Place the mousse in a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
To make the chocolate cake: Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stop the machine and add the cocoa powder. Mix at low speed and slowly add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Add all at once to the cocoa mixture and mix until smooth at low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Slowly add the warm water. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake is firm and springy to the touch. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan, let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate.
To make the chocolate-tea ice cream: Place the heavy cream in a large, heavy saucepan with the milk, tea bags, and 1 cup of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then remove the pan from the heat and let the tea steep for 20 minutes. Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Strain the tea-infused cream into a clean pot and bring to a full boil over medium heat. Quickly whisk the boiling liquid into the yolks and sugar. Immediately add the chopped chocolate, stirring the mixture until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean mixing bowl. Place the bowl of chocolate mixture inside another bowl filled with ice. Once the custard is cold, transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
To assemble the chocolate mousse cakes: You will need six 3-by-1-1/2-inch ring molds, a pastry bag with a No. 8 tip, and a 1-inch-diameter round cutter. Cut the cake into very thin (about 1/4 inch) cross-wise slices. Using the metal rings, cut out 12 disks of cake. Place a cake disk at the bottom of each ring mold. Fill the pastry bag with the chocolate mousse. Pipe chocolate mousse into the rings until it reaches 1/2 inch up the side of each mold. Smooth the mousse flat with a tablespoon dipped in hot water. Place a second disk of chocolate cake on top of the chocolate mousse, creating a sandwich. Press down until level and flat. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. When each mousse cake is firm, remove it from the refrigerator. To garnish, dip the smaller 1-inch round cutter in hot water and cut a hold slightly off center in the chocolate sandwich disk. Remove the mousse cakes from the ring molds by rubbing each ring with your hands until the cake is released. Carefully push it out of the ring mold and refrigerate.
To make the chocolate wrapping: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth; set aside. Clean and dry the baking sheet. Place the pan in the preheated oven until it is very warm, about 30 to 45 seconds. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the melted chocolate onto the back of the sheet pan in a very thin, even layer. Place the pan in the freezer or refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove the pan and let sit at room temperature until the chocolate is warm enough to peel off the sheet pan using a paring knife, about 5 minutes. Cut 9-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips of chocolate and peel off the pan. Carefully wrap a strip of chocolate around the sides of each disk of mousse cake, so that it looks like smooth frosting. Wrap all six mousse cakes and refrigerate.
To serve: Place one of the chocolate mousse cakes on each plate, add a scoop of the chocolate–tea ice cream, and garnish with fresh mint springs, tuile cookies, drizzles of fruit and chocolate sauce, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Note: The mousse, cake, and ice cream may be made up to 1 day in advance and stored separately. The mousse cakes may be assembled up to 6 hours in advance and refrigerated.
Chocolate Tuile Cookies
Chef Richard Leach serves these crispy wafers with his Riot in Chocolate, but they could be stars themselves with a bowl of ice cream or as part of a cookie assortment. The genius of these cookies is that they emerge from the oven hot and pliable, and can be creatively shaped many ways; once cooled, they are crisp.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the butter and honey in a large bowl and beat until the mixture is smooth and pale in color, about 5 minutes. Sift the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa powder together. Add to the butter and honey and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the egg whites and mix until smooth.
To bake the tuiles: Use an X-acto blade or a sharp paring knife to make a stencil from the top of a plastic deli or cottage cheese container by cutting out any shape you wish (the chef uses a leaf shape). Place the plastic top on a well-greased jellyroll pan and spread the batter in it until the batter is thin and smooth. Remove the plastic top to leave the shaped batter. Repeat until all the cookies have been made. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the cookies are firm and dry. Remove from the baking sheet with a large spatula and let cool on waxed paper or parchment paper.
Note: The cookies may also be baked into circles by pouring the batter directly onto the pan, and then the just-baked cookies may be molded by draping them over a rolling pin, or by laying them over the upturned bottom of a cup to form a basket shape. This must be done immediately after the cookies are taken from the oven, before they cool.
Fruit Sauce (Puree)
Puree the berries or fruit in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree through a fine-meshed sieve. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Adjust the amount of sugar to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.This puree may be used as an ingredient in another recipe, or by itself as a sauce.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the sugar and half-and-half over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Serve warm, or pour into a jar, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.