Chocolate mousse with crème fraîche sorbet and vanilla squash

Nigel Mendham's sophisticated dark chocolate mousse recipe is served alongside tender balls of poached squash and a vibrant squash purée, perfectly utilising the natural sweetness of a savoury ingredient. A scoop of crème fraîche sorbet adds creamy richness without being too cloying, while chocolate soil and a chocolate and almond tuile bring fantastic texture to the plate.

First published in 2016

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Chocolate mousse

Crème fraîche sorbet

  • 500g of crème fraîche
  • 150g of sugar
  • 75g of glucose
  • 200g of water
  • 50g of lemon juice
  • 12g of sorbet stabiliser

Squash purée

Chocolate tuile

Chocolate soil

Poached squash spheres

To serve

Equipment

  • Ice cream maker
  • Electric hand whisk
  • Sugar thermometer
  • Water bath
  • Vacuum bags
  • Chamber sealer
  • Food processor
  • Parisian scoop / melon baller
  • 5cm pastry cutter
  • Blender

Method

1
Begin by preparing the crème fraîche sorbet. Add the sugar, glucose and water to a pan and place over a medium heat. Once the mixture has come up to the boil and the sugar dissolved into the liquid, remove from the heat and set aside to cool
  • 150g of sugar
  • 75g of glucose
  • 200g of water
2
Once cool, whisk the crème fraîche, lemon juice and stabiliser into the syrup, then churn in an ice cream maker according the manufacturers' instructions and freeze until ready to serve
  • 500g of crème fraîche
  • 50g of lemon juice
  • 12g of sorbet stabiliser
3
Preheat a water bath to 85°C
4
To make the chocolate mousse, place the egg yolks and whole egg in a large bowl and whisk together until thick and creamy. In a small pan placed over a low heat, stir together the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved completely
5
Bring the sugar syrup up to 104°C, then remove from the heat and slowly trickle the hot liquid into the beaten eggs, whisking continuously until the mixture has cooled completely (the base of the bowl should feel cool to the touch)
6
Gently fold in the melted chocolate until combined. In a separate bowl, gently whip the double cream to soft peaks and fold it carefully into the chocolate mixture. Cover the mousse (or transfer to a suitable container) and chill in the fridge until ready to serve
7
To make the squash purée, peel and deseed the squash and chop the flesh into small pieces. Place in a vacuum bag with the vanilla and sugar syrup, then seal and cook in the water bath for 55 minutes
8
Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate soil by gently melting the chocolates together in a bowl set over a bowl of barely simmering water, ensuring the bowl does not touch the surface of the water
9
Once melted and smooth, gently stir in the other ingredients until fully combined. Transfer to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is just firm to the touch
10
For the chocolate tuile, place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth and combined. Transfer the mixture to the fridge and allow to chill for 30 minutes
11
To make the squash spheres, slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. Use a melon baller to scoop out spheres from the flesh, placing these in a vacuum bag with the vanilla and sugar syrup
12
Seal the vacuum bag, then add to the water bath with the squash purée and cook for the final 8 minutes. After this time, remove both bags from the water bath, set the bag for the purée to one side and chill the bag of squash spheres in a bowl of iced water to cool
13
Discarding the vanilla pod, transfer the contents of the purée bag to a blender and blitz to form a smooth purée. Season to taste with a little salt, then transfer to a piping bag and reserve until ready to serve
14
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
15
Remove the chocolate soil mixture from the fridge and spread out on a silicone mat to an even thickness of roughly 5mm. Bake for 15–20 minutes until firm and crisp, then set aside to cool
16
Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C/gas mark 3½
17
Spread the chilled chocolate tuille mixture out in a very thin, even layer across another silicone mat and bake for 6–8 minutes until just set. Allow to cool slightly, then stamp out round discs using a 5cm pastry cutter. Reserve until ready to serve
18
Once the soil sheet has cooled, break into rough pieces and place in a food processor. Blitz briefly to form an even crumble, then transfer to an airtight container and set aside until ready to serve
19
Mix together the toasted pumpkin seeds with a little pumpkin seed oil. Drain the squash spheres from the cooking liquid ready to plate
20
To serve, add a spoonful of the crumble to each serving plate and top with a scoop of chocolate mousse. Divide the squash spheres between plates and pipe a few mounds of the squash purée alongside them, topping with a quenelle of the crème fraîche sorbet. Drizzle the oil and seeds over the top and garnish with a chocolate tuile
First published in 2016

Nigel Mendham has proved himself to be as adaptable as he is talented, prospering in restaurants all over Britain and winning great acclaim for his deftly classical cuisine.

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