I turned 30 yesterday. 3-0. Dirty Thirty. I have actually been pretty excited about this one, more so than 25 or even 20. Most of my girlfriends are in their 30s and they are the most amazing, strong, confident, inspiring badass women, so I think 30's are a good place to be.
Anyway, I celebrated with a lovely lunch at a modern-classic smorrebrodsrestaurant in Copenhagen with my dad before going grocery shopping for dinner for the family.
I know chocolate and alcohol are not to everyone's taste (if so, just leave out the whiskey or maybe replace it with burnt sugar syrup and a pinch of smoked salt, or just serve the crazy over the top delicious chocolate mousse as it is and let the chocolate shine), but I love the depth a nice whiskey gives bittersweet chocolate. The same goes for my taste in cocktails, I tend to lean towards the classics with a definite "bite" and bitterness rather than just sugar on sugar on sugar. Though I have been known to chug my share of those too.
This chocolate mousse dessert was inspired by a modern take on a classic cocktail, the Manhattan. I came across the recipe for the cocktail on Imbibe Magazine, and the flavours just sounded so lovely. Darker and very suitable for fall. I substituted red and black currants for the cherry garnish to make a bright, juicy sweet and tart compote to balance the cookies and mousse. Walnuts and citrus zests were a nod to the Averna and bitters in the cocktail as well.
And even though the chocolate mousse really is the star of the show, those cookies on their own with a cup of coffee was ah-mazing. I won't divulge how many I ate all by my lonesome throughout the day in celebration of myself. Nope. Thankfully my sister snagged the leftovers before I could finish asking if she wanted them.
Black Manhattan Chocolate Mousse
Whisky chocolate mousse
150g 70% chopped chocolate, I used Valrhona Guanaja
40g granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
375g heavy cream
1-2 Tbsp. whiskey according to your personal taste.
Pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool to room temperature. Mix the sugar with salt, egg yolks and 75g of heavy cream in a heatproof bowl and cook over a water bath until 80C/176F, whisking constantly to keep egg yolks from scrambling.
Remove bowl from the water bath and whip until cool with a hand mixer.
Whip the remaining heavy cream to a medium soft peak. Whisk 1/3 of the cooled custard into the melted chocolate, whisk in the whiskey and then fold in the remaining 2/3. Finally gently fold in the whipped cream and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe the mousse into 8 glasses and allow the mousse to set for at least 2 hours in refrigerator.
Burnt sugar almond meringue cookies
4 large egg whites
3 Tbsp. burnt sugar syrup
150g granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
100g chopped, toasted walnuts
100g chopped, toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 150C/300F. Set aside a baking pan lined with parchment.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixture with a whisk attachment whisk the egg whites with the salt until they are foamy, and then begin adding the granulated sugar 1 Tbsp. at a time. When the meringue is glossy with medium-hard peaks, gently fold in the burnt sugar syrup, citrus zest and nuts.
Using a tablespoon dollop the meringue mixture onto the parchment leaving a few centimeters space around the cookies.
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, turn the heat down to 120C/250F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are done. Turn off the oven and allow the cookies to cool to room temperature in the oven with the door ajar.
another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
Minty black & red currant compote
110g black currant
55g red currant
165 g sugar
Pinch of salt
5 mint leaves, finely chopped
Combine berries, sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, then strain the syrup from the compote.
Save the syrup for another use (it’s great over yoghurt or ice cream), and allow the berries to cool.
Mix the chopped mint with the berries and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
When ready to serve divide the compote over the mousse, coarsely crush the meringue cookies and sprinkle over. Serve immediately.