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Recipe: Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse with Fleur de Sel
The problem with having a really tiny kitchen without a dishwasher is that once you’ve cooked dinner, at least half of the barely there anyway countertops are covered with washing up that needs to be done. As a result, I rarely make a dessert; pudding is usually ice cream from the freezer (also not homemade, as I have neither the countertop of freezer space for an ice cream maker, and I’ve yet to find a no-churn recipe I’ve liked). One solution I’ve found to actually having an homemade dessert is to make something that comes in a couple of portions that can be made ahead during the day (a great weekend project) where I can be all washed up and cleared away before it is time to make dinner, and can then be enjoyed throught the week.
Last winter when I visited my parents in Kent, they were in a temporary kitchen about the size of mine in London, plus a big central kitchen island made out of kitchen units that had been torn out of the kitchen they’d been replacing, literally glued together in a spare room. As a result everyday cooking for them – and for me when I was visiting adhered to the same sort of rules I live by every day. Nigella’s last cookbook At My Tablehad just come out, and both my mother and I having a copy signed it was also a book where I could plan what I was going to make from it without having to lug it home on the train with me to refer to.
While my One Pan Greek Lamb Meatballs with Orzo and Feta was something I adapted from a beef meatball recipe in the book experimenting in a much larger kitchen, that winter we made Nigella’s Indian Chicken and Potato Traybake which was much enjoyed (the recipe was one of those offered by her publisher that summer to promote the book so therefore appeared everywhere – I learnt this when I helped choose the recipes for the press release for my own book – typically published choose about half a dozen recipes from the book available for re-print in magazines to promote it, which is why you seem to see the same few recipes from a book everywhere!), a simply incredible chicken thigh number braised with leeks and peas in vermouth I adore and have made a few times since, a wickedly rich and delicious Gemelli Pasta with Anchovies, Tomato and Mascarpone (if a cookbook is published by Penguin Random House or an imprint of, you can typically find a few different recipes from the book there to try before you buy – including some of mine!) and these simply luxurious mousses.
I’m no stranger to a classic French chocolate mousse (which is always for dessert when my Mum cooks my birthday supper, after a big plate of her beef meatballs in tomato sauce with tagliatelle and a bucket load of freshly grated pecorino), but this one is richer, more luxurious and really celebrates the ingredients you use. I’ve not really touched Nigella’s recipe at all, except to add specifications.
Curiously I’m not really bothered about the type of cooking chocolate you use as long it is either plain or dark, but you simply must used your favourite olive oil because you’ll really be tasting it (and sorry, you’ll also be using quite a lot of it!) – a few years ago Pomora set me up with an olive oil subscription and now I use nothing else. As for the salt, where Nigella went flaky, I feel this is the perfect recipe to showcase my favourite sea salt, Fleur de Sel de Guerande from the Brittany coast which has the most beautiful delicate, clean flavour and I buy by the bucketload every time I’m there (you can find brands I love on Amazon here and here.
A rich and indulgent chocolate mousse made with Italian olive oil and Brittany sea salt barely adapted from Nigella Lawson’s At My Table.
70g (2 1/2 oz) Plain or Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Large Eggs
Fleur de Sel de Guerande
50g (1 1/2 oz) Golden Caster Sugar
Place the chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl (I used Pyrex bowls for all my cooking – see above in the ‘You Might Need’ section!) over a pan of just boiled water, set over a medium low heat. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water, but the steam should melt the chocolate, stirring to combine just occasionally.
Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat, stir in the olive oil and set it aside to cool a little.
In a clean glass bowl using an electric whisk or in the bowl of a stand mixer whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks.
In another bowl (the largest one you’ve got) whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 tsp of fleur de sel and the sugar until the mixture is pale, glossy and has roughly doubled in size.
Slowly pour the chocolate oil mixture into the yolks, whisking vigorously until everything is combined.
Now you need to fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to make the mousse. What I find is easiest is to add a big spoonful or two of the whites to the mixture and gently stir them in to lighten the chocolate, then it is easier to fold the whites into the mixture to get a mixture that is not lumpy, and still has lots of air. Add about 1/3 of the whites to the bowl, and using a metal spoon (this also helps keep the air in), make a cutting motion from the top of the bowl to the bottom around the edge, rotating the bowl a little after every cut. Repeat twice more, each time with another 1/3 of the mixture.
Once the mixture is light, smooth and airy, spoon it equally between six ramekins. Set the mousses in the fridge to set for a minimum of 2 hours, but I ideally would make these first thing in the morning to enjoy in the evening.
Take out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving, and sprinkle the top of each mousse with a little more Fleur de Sel.
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