Over this year’s festive period I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by both my family and my in-laws in the north east of Scotland as well as a menagerie of animals associated with both parts of the family. This has also meant that I’ve been able to avoid all the stresses of cooking Christmas dinner and have instead left it to the experts: my mother and my mother-in-law!
When one of my friends invited me round for dinner the other night though, I thought it was about time to get back into the kitchen, even if it wasn’t my own kitchen. I have never been a fan of cooking in other people’s kitchens because the pleasure of boiling, baking, melting and eventually serving your dish is entirely obliterated by the blind panic of not being able to find a spoon when you need it!
To avoid a “foreign kitchen” nightmare, I decided to stick with something simple but utterly delicious – Nigella’s chocolate mousse. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t even require eggs. To spruce up the recipe slightly, I also chose to make honeycomb crumbs to sprinkle over the top (and hide any lumps and bumps that might appear in the mixture). If you ever need to come up with a dessert at short notice, this is it. It takes less than an hour to set in the fridge and tastes divine! No one will know the difference.
Nigella’s chocolate mousse with honeycomb crumbs
Serves 6 – 8
Preparation time 10 minutes; refrigeration time 1 hour
For the mousse
50g soft butter
250g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
60ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
1 x 284ml tub double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the honeycomb
160g caster sugar
5 x 15ml tablespoon golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water into a pan and place over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted. Stir occasionally to ensure that the mixture doesn’t stick or burn. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Whisk the cream and vanilla until thick and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture. Pour into 6 – 8 ramekins, or nice glasses if you don’t have ramekins, and place in the fridge to set for around an hour.
- To make the honeycomb, place the butter, sugar and syrup in a large pan and place over a medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and allow the syrup to boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda until the mixture starts to fix and expand. Be careful as the mixture will expand a lot at this stage! Pour the honeycomb onto a greased baking tray and leave to set.
- Once cool and set, break the honeycomb into several large pieces. Wrap one of the pieces in cling film and crash into smaller pieces using a rolling pin or other heavy object.
- Unwrap the honeycomb crumbs and sprinkle over the top of the mousses just before serving.