In this video, Curtis Stone demonstrates that to prepare a fluffy chocolate mousse, you must wield your spoons and whisks with precision when thickening eggs, melting chocolate and eliminating lumps. (Don't worry -- it's much easier to make than it might seem.) His orange-flavored dark chocolate mousse is topped with a simple syrup and orange rind garnish, making it the perfect elegant dessert for a Valentine's Day celebration or other romantic evening.
4ounces highest-quality dark chocolate (72% cacao), chopped
1/2cup plus 1 cup heavy cream
3/4cup chilled heavy cream, semi-whipped until thick
Candied Zest Topping:
the zest of 2 oranges
PREPARE THE MOUSSE, MAKE THE CUSTARD:
Whisk the orange juice, sugar, and yolks in a medium mixing bowl set over a small pot of simmering water for 10 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl often, until the liquid has become thick and tripled in size. It will look light and airy and form ribbons when drizzled.
Remove the bowl from over the saucepan and set aside to cool to almost room temperature, whisking it every couple of minutes.
MELT THE CHOCOLATE:
Place the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl set over the small pot of simmering water until the chocolate melts, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula to ensure the chocolate has melted evenly.
Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. It should just be warm to the touch.
Mix in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream while constantly stirring.
FOLD CUSTARD INTO CHOCOLATE CREAM:
Slowly fold the fluffy custard into the chocolate mixture until a uniform mixture is achieved.
At first the mixture will be a little loose, but once all of the ingredients are fully incorporated the mixture will be light and airy like a liquid mousse.
WHILE THE CUSTARD AND CHOCOLATE COOL, BEAT THE CREAM:
Whisk the remaining 1 cup of cream in a large mixing bowl until peaks form.
ASSEMBLE THE MOUSSE; FOLD CHOCOLATE INTO WHIPPED CREAM:
Set some of the whipped cream aside to use as a final garnish. Using a silicone spatula, slowly fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream until it is completely incorporated. At this point the mixture will look very loose, but it will thicken as it chills.
Gently pour the mixture into 4 individual glasses or ramekins and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours.
MAKE CANDIED ZEST:
Using a citrus zester, remove the peel from the oranges to form long matchstick-size strips, or remove the peel with a vegetable peeler then cut the peel into long matchstick-size strips.
Place the peels in a small saucepan of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then strain the water. Return the peels to the saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and then strain the water. Repeat this one more time.
Combine the 1/4 cup of fresh cold water and sugar in the small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Allow the syrup to simmer for 1 minute then add the orange peels and reduce the heat to low.
Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the orange zest is tender and the syrup has thickened slightly.
Transfer the orange zest and syrup to a bowl set over ice to cool completely.
Once cool, remove the zest from the syrup and reserve.
Spoon the semi-whipped cream atop the mousse.
Place a small pinch of the candied orange peel on top of each mousse and serve. Drizzle some of the syrup over the mousse.