Need an excuse to indulge in lots and lots of chocolate? No problem, as Chocolate Week is upon us! Anne shows us what happened on an hands-on chocolate making class with chocolatier Paul A Young. She also shares a super easy recipe for a sumptuous chocolate mousse.
Recently, I was lucky to film with Paul A Young for my Anne’s Kitchen TV show, and get a hands-on chocolate making class from the master himself.
Entering Paul’s downstairs kitchen of his Soho outlet is a real heaven for chocoholics. The smallish room is filled with chocolate in all its states: couverture chocolate chips waiting to be melted into velvety goodness, melted chocolate being tempered on big marble slabs, tempered chocolate being filled into pretty chocolate moulds or rolled into chocolate truffles – combined with the sweet smell, it’s a real treat.
I came to Paul to learn the art of tempering. This technique controls the crystallization of melted chocolate and gives the finished, hardened chocolates a glossy sheen. If you don’t temper chocolate, it will end up looking dull, with a white streaks and blotches, as the fats will migrate to the surface and ruin the look of a perfect chocolate.
So, a whole precise process is needed to temper chocolate, there’s really no way to get around it! But rest assured, it sounds more daunting than it actually is! First, the melted chocolate needs to be poured on a marble surface and scraped off, so that it gradually cools down. Once the chocolate has reached its desired temperature, it is poured back into a container with warm melted chocolate, and mixed – which slightly warms the chocolate again and makes it ready to be worked into its final shapes. It doesn’t really seem that hard, and it really wasn’t!
We ended up dipping truffles into the tempered chocolate, and as they were hardening, their perfect glossiness became apparent, making me a very happy chocolate-apprentice.
I have to admit that I haven’t had a go at chocolate making at home yet. Instead, to celebrate Chocolate Week, I’d like to share my favourite chocolate mousse, which is super easy to make and which I like to serve with shortbread.
Happy Chocolate Week!
Simple chocolate mousse with Shortbread
For the chocolate mousse:
Prep: 20min – Fridge 3 hours – Serves 6 – Easy
250g good quality milk chocolate
6 eggs + 2 egg whites
a pinch of salt
Melt the butter and the chocolate over a low heat, stirring constantly to not let the chocolate catch. Once smooth, take off the heat pour into a big bowl and let it cool down for a bit.
Separate the eggs and add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture, stirring vigorously after each egg yolk is added, so that the yolks don’t get hot.
Put the egg whites into a separate bowl, add a pinch of salt and beat with an electric whisk until really stiff.
Add a spoonful of egg white to the chocolate mixture and stir so that the chocolate becomes a bit more runny. Now, add the remaining egg whites in three parts, each time gently folding them into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon of silicone spatula. You want it to remain nicely fluffy, so don’t beat the mixture.
Once all the egg whites are incorporated, pour the mousse into four small bowls, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
For the shortbread:
Prep: 15 min– Fridge 20 min – Oven 15-20 mins – Makes about 20-25 biscuits – Easy
120g butter, room temperature
50g sugar + extra for sprinkling
1 vanilla pod (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170°C fan.
In a bowl, beat the butter and the sugar together with an electric whisk until smooth. Scrape out the vanilla bean paste from the vanilla pod and add to the butter, mix again.
Add the flour, mix with the electric whisk until it looks crumbly. Now, use your hands and knead until you get a dough. This will be very crumbly at first, but give it a bit of time and the dough will come together.
Put the dough onto a floured surface and roll out until it is roughly 1cm thick. Cut into rectangles and prick a few times with a fork, to give the shortbread its traditional look.
Put the shortbread onto a baking tray, lined with baking paper, sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Bake the shortbread for 15-20 minutes until golden-brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Inspired? For more amazing chocolate recipes visit Great British Chefs
Though the weather may not always be as ideal as we hope during spring, there are some great ingredients that reach their peak during this season. This includes oysters, rhubarb, asparagus and artichokes, to name just a few. Here, we give you a...