An Excuse for Mousse
Last Friday evening my friend Vero and her boyfriend were coming to dinner, although really it was just an excuse for them to come play with the kittens. "Hmm, what was that? Dinner's ready? What dinner?" But admittedly, dinner was really just an excuse for me to make a dessert. As if I really need one! This is one of the most decadent delightful desserts I have in my arsenal. It looks gorgeous and tastes sinful. This little mouthful requires some time and preplanning though.
Chocolate Mousse in Hazelnut Phyllo Cups
Cafe Matou - Chicago, IL.
Bon Appetit Sept. 2002
Hazelnut Phyllo Cups (can be made 2 days ahead and stored airtight at room temp.)
-18 fresh phyllo sheets, approx. 9"x13"
-10 T. (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
-8 T. sugar, approx.
-8 T. finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, approx.
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter every other cup in a 12 cup muffin tin. Place one sheet of phyllo down, brush with butter and then sprinkle with ~ 1/2 T. sugar and 1/2 T. nuts. Repeat up to 6 layers. Using a 5 1/2" diameter plate as a guide cut layered phyllo into circles and push gently into buttered muffin tin. Bake 10 minutes, remove from tins and CAREFULLY transfer to wirerack to cool. * I like to cut up the extra irregular pieces and cook them as well. They make tasty pretty cookies but keep an eye on them, they needn't cook as long.
-4 large eggs, separated
-1/2 c. sugar
-1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
-1/4 c. water
-1 t. instant espresso powder
-8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet, chopped finely
Whisk egg yolks, 1/4 c. sugar, butter, water and espresso in a large metal bowl. Double boil while whisking constantly, about 3 minutes. Add chocolate and whisk until all is melted and mixture is smooth. Turn off heat and leave bowl over water.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 c. sugar, beating until stiff and glossy. Remove chocolate from over the water and fold 1/3 of beaten whites into the warm chocolate mix to lighten. Fold in remaining whites and cover and chill until set, at least 3 hrs or overnight.
To serve carefully spoon mousse into phyllo cups, I like to decorate the tops with slices of fresh strawberries or raspberries. In a pinch, sprinkle with remaining crushed hazelnuts.