I tried making a Gordon Ramsay recipe – didn’t have exactly the right ingredients so ending up making something a little different…
Well, it was bound to happen… I tried to follow the recipe from the book but I got one of the ingredients slightly wrong so I then had to adjust the recipe a teeny weeny tiny bit. On the plus side if you find you have used intensely dark cooking chocolate in a recipe where you should actually have used good quality dark chocolate – for eating – then this will give you some ideas on how to salvage the thing. Particularly if the recipe you’re following is Chocolate Pots from Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy (that’s easy not idiot-proof).
Because of all the trouble I had when I made the Baby Guinness Mousses – that recipe is wrong by the way and I am so so sorry. I really thought I had that one right but then I went to make it – sometime ages later – and discovered, with huge disappointment, that the recipe isn’t right. I really have to recreate that because when I got it right it was fantastic. Damnit. (I have corrected it since – here’s the correct recipe for Baby Guinness Mousse)
But back to this closely averted disaster. So when I made the Baby Guinness Mousses I had huge trouble with chocolate seizing and it just not turning out right, so I was already thinking that I would halve the ingredients in this in case I had any trouble. By the way the best way to melt chocolate is actually in the microwave. You just buzz it (that’s the technical term) for 20 seconds take it out, stir it and repeat until it’s all melted. It doesn’t seem to seize when you do it like this.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about if you heat good quality chocolate too much it can seize (that really is the technical term) and it will taste all gritty and horrible and you will have no choice but to bin it. There is no saving seized chocolate. It’s damned to the rubbish bin. Such a waste. Microwave melting – it’s the way to go.
But there are many way to mess up a chocolate mousse. I know I’ve experienced pretty much all of them. And everyone says it’s so easy. It is. Until you mess it up.
The recipe calls for 200g of good quality (60%) dark chocolate, 6 eggs and 50ml of Grand Marnier. As you probably know, Grand Marnier is an orange brandy liqueur which is very very sweet. But sweet and all as it is 50ml wouldn’t be sweet enough to sweeten 200g or even 100g of 70% intensely dark chocolate. You know the Green & Black Maya Gold chocolate bar? That, if you really wanted to emphasize the orange flavour, would probably be a good option here. But I was looking for dark cooking chocolate (because I hadn’t considered that eating chocolate was what was needed) and all the dark cooking chocolate seemed to be made 70% of cocoa solids, so I did buy cream to lighten the chocolate.
I had forgotten that butter is often a better option to lighten chocolate. Though I do think I used cream in the Baby Guinness Mousse – I wish I could remember – but when I added a couple of spoons of cream to the chocolate here the mix became very pasty. I was worried it was ruined but once I added the alcohol it became nice and smooth again.
So what do you do if you’ve used a chocolate that is too dark and bitter for the mousse you’re making? You’ve got a few options, you need to add sugar and fat that will make it sweeter and lighter in flavour. You can do this by adding more eggs and beating a few spoons of sugar into the egg yolks till they have a butter-like consistency or you can add more of whatever you are using to sweeten the mousse and add melted butter to the melted chocolate.
The problem with adding more eggs is that if you add in the egg whites as well you’ll have much more of the mousse.
I wasn’t going to add in more eggs because I thought it might be a bit of a waste, I didn’t have any unsalted butter, and as I didn’t like the how the cream was mixing with the chocolate I only added two tablespoons to it. I don’t know why I didn’t mix in sugar to the egg yolks.
What I did do was double the quantity of alcohol, while the other ingredients were halved (it was the chocolate’s fault, in fairness) and decided I’d add a cream topping once the mousse had set. And you know what, it’s really nice. It’s very dark. The chocolate even with the 100ml of Grand Marnier and 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste is still very intense but I love dark chocolate – in particular I like dark chocolate with a gentle boozy kick. If you do too you should like this.
I used whipping cream, which is lighter than double cream, as the topping for the pots. The more fat in the cream the less likely it is to separate. Whipping cream will separate quite easily so if you ever add it as a topping to mousses, or if you ever whip a little alcohol into it, only do so right before serving. You might be thinking – why not just use double cream? – yeah, you could do that, but I do like the lightness of lighter creams, so…
If you like dark chocolate but not intensely dark chocolate then you will definitely prefer the original recipe. So I’m going to post both here.
Gordon Ramsay’s Chocolate Pots
Makes 6 Pots
- 200g good quality dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids)
- 6 eggs, separated
- 50 ml Grand Marnier
- Melt the chocolate.
- Whisk the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl until softly peaking.
- Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate, then stir in the Grand Marnier.
- Carefully fold in the whisked egg whites.
- Pour into 6 custard pots and chill for 3 hours before serving.
Happy Valentine’s Everyone!