Chocolate Mint Napoleon ▶
Chocoholic alert! This is chocolate-peppermint candy, layered with rich chocolate mousse laced with chocolate liqueur. The candy alone would make a wonderful holiday gift, broken into smaller pieces and wrapped in a pretty box. The chocolate-peppermint combination is delicious. The chef warns, do not put your nose right over the hot candy pan while you are cooking; the peppermint will be too intense. Shane Gorringe came up with this dessert just for Great Chefs.
- Chocolate Mousse Filling
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate - 7 ounces
- Unsalted Butter - 4 ounces (1 stick), softened
- Eggs - 4, separated
- Chocolate Liqueur - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup, scant
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup, whipped to firm peaks
- Peppermint Candy
- Sugar - 1-3/4 cups
- Water - 4-1/2 ounces
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1-1/4 cup, sifted
- Peppermint Essence - 4 to 6 drops
- Creme de Menthe Sauce
- Creme de Menthe - 3 ounces, green
- Sugar - 2 heaping tablespoons
- Vanilla bean - 1/2 bean
- For assembly
- Chocolate - 1 pound, tempered, chopped (alt.melted baker’s chocolate)
- Chocolate Sauce - 1/2 cup
- Mint sprigs
To make the filling: In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate. Add the butter and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Add a small spoonful of the hot chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and whisk gently to combine, tempering the yolks. Stir the egg yolks and chocolate liqueur into the chocolate mixture. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue beating to firm peaks. Fold a large spoonful of the meringue into the chocolate mixture, then fold the chocolate into the meringue. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. It will stiffen.
To make the candy: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper. Place the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to boil. Do not stir; wash down crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a wet brush. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches 237 F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the sifted confectioner’s sugar. Add a few drops of peppermint essence, to taste. Pour onto the prepared pan and set to one side to cool. The candy will have a rough, cauliflower-like appearance and will have lots of crumbly pieces.
To make the sauce: Put the creme de menthe and sugar in a sauce pan. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the pan, then add the pod. Bring to a boil, swirling to blend. Remove from the heat and let cool. Remove the vanilla bean pod.
To assemble: Melt the pound of chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Chop the mint candy into small pieces. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Spread a thin rectangle of the melted chocolate on the parchment paper, about 12 inches by 15 inches. Sprinkle chopped candy over half the chocolate before it sets. Quickly lift the parchment under the chocolate which has no candy on it and fold over the other half so that the chocolate enfolds the candy surface. Press together gently. Set aside to cool. Repeat this using more parchment paper, chocolate, and chopped candy until the chocolate is used. When the chocolate has set, peel away the parchment paper and break the chocolate-peppermint candy into pieces as big as you want the dessert layers to be, about 5 or 6 inches in size. Let the pieces be irregular; the peppermint will show.
With two soup spoons, form quenelles of the mousse and place one at one end of a piece of the chocolate-peppermint candy. Lay another piece of the candy against it, starting an upward fan of chocolate candy. Continuing in this manner, sandwich 4 or 5 pieces together for each serving, keeping the chocolate pieces close together at one end and fanned out at the other. If you wish, you can pipe the mousse between the layers instead of making the quenelles. Chill each one in the refrigerator as soon as you finish it; let the desserts chill at least 30 minutes.
To serve: Drizzle chocolate sauce and creme de menthe sauce over the serving plates, then stand a chocolate napoleon on each plate. Garnish with sprigs of mint.