Chocolate tears

Galton Blackiston's stunning dessert uses a clever item from the patissier's toolbox: a bendy strip of plastic
By Galton Blackiston
Chocolate tears
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus setting time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the tears

  • 175 g best quality chocolate
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

For the mousse

  • 175 g plain chocolate, preferably Bournville
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 2 medium eggs, separated
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

For the cr'me anglaise

  • 275 ml double cream
  • 150 ml full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 110 g caster sugar

Method

1. For the tears: line a rectangular plastic tray with greaseproof paper. Break the chocolate into a bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water to melt ' make sure water is not boiling or the chocolate will overheat and become dull and dry.

2. Cut 8-10 strips of acetate or celluloid measuring roughly 4cm x 25cm each. Lay one on the worktop and use a palette knife to spread about an eighth of the melted chocolate right along one side. Being careful not to damage the surface, carefully lift the strip onto its side and bend back into a tear drop shape so that the two ends meet - the chocolate on each side should touch for about 2-3cm at the top of the tear. Carefully transfer to the paper-lined tray. Repeat with the remaining chocolate then refrigerate the tears.

3. For the mousse: break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and sit it over a pan of barely simmering water to melt. Once smooth, remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.

4. Add 2 tablespoons of the double cream to the chocolate, then mix in the egg yolks and set aside.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar gradually. Fold this meringue into the chocolate yolk mixture.

6. Pour the remaining cream into another large bowl and whisk until it holds peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Gently but thoroughly fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.

7. Spoon the chocolate mousse into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Take the chocolate tears from the fridge and pipe the mousse carefully into them. Smooth the top of the mousse with a palette knife so each tear is level. Return the tears to the refrigerator to set.

8. For the crème anglaise: combine the cream and milk in a heavy-based saucepan. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add them and the empty husks to the pan. Bring slowly to the boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat and set aside to infuse.

9. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl. Gently reheat the cream and milk mixture. As soon as it reaches boiling point, pour it on to the yolks, whisking all the time.

10. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.

11. Pass the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl. If you are not using it immediately, push a piece of clingfilm onto the surface of the custard then place another piece over the top of the bowl - this will prevent a skin forming.

12. To serve, place each tear on a serving plate and carefully remove the acetate strip. Lightly dust the mousse with the cocoa powder and pour the crème anglaise around.

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