I love Basil. It’s such a sensory herb, with the ability to transport you to just about anywhere – usually in Italy.
I also love chocolate, and one of my favourite memories is from my honeymoon, some 10 and a bit years ago, where we spent time backpacking through Italy, from Sorento through to Bergamo. Our last night was in a hotel in Turin, and by the time we got there we were pretty worn out. The 4-star hotel had an amazing jacuzzi in the bathroom, and with promises to return one day, we didn’t venture further than the cafe on the corner.
This particular cafe, however, had a delicious selection of home made chocolates and ice cream, and I fell in love with the combination of Basil and Chocolate. No, it’s not one you come across often, but it works – trust me, it works.
I recently agreed to participate in a challenge where I had to come up with a recipe that speaks to the taste of Italy, and I can’t think of much that speaks of Italy like Basil does, so here is my contribution: Chocolate Mousse with Basil Cream – and here is my advice: don’t knock it till you try it!
This is an incredibly rich mousse. We had two people (including two children) sharing the two ice cream bowls of mousse & cream in the pictures, and it was still a lot. So it’s a great sharers dish.
We hope you love the Chocolate Mousse & Basil Cream as much as we do!
- 335g double cream
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 15g icing sugar
- 150g chocolate
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a sealable container, add 200g cream and whole basil leaves together.
- Cover and put in the fridge for 5 hours. After that time, remove the basil leaves and discard
- Add the icing sugar to the cream and whisk to stiff peaks. (I find it easiest here to transfer into a piping bag, and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave, on a double boiler, in a bowl nestled inside a pot on the stove top (making sure not to get any water in) or however you normally melt chocolate.
- While it's melting, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, adding the sugar slowly as you whisk, then put the egg whites in the fridge.
- Next, whisk the cream to stiff peaks, and place in the fridge.
- Finally, in a large bowl add the vanilla extract to the egg yolks and mix until smooth. Pour the melted chocolate slowly in to the egg yolks, stirring all the time.
- Next, add the cream to the egg and chocolate mix, and stir till it's all combined.
- Finally fold in the egg whites. Do not beat, whisk or over stir this as doing so will cause the mousse to collapse. Follow instructions below for combining.
- These instructions are for one bowl. If you have two, melt the chocolate in one and do the whisking in the other.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in the Thermomix® bowl and whisk with the butterfly speed 4 about 1 minute. Keep an eye on it - the freshness of your eggs and the temperature will affect how long you need to whisk this for, and you don't want it to collapse again, so just stop when you reach stiff peaks.
- Scoop into a bowl and set aside in the fridge
- Wash out the bowl and dry thoroughly.
- Pour the cream in and add the butterfly again. Whisk the cream for about 30 seconds/speed 4. Again, keep an eye on it - freshness of cream and starting temperature of cream will affect how long it needs to be whisked for. You don't want butter!
- Set aside the cream, and wash and dry the bowl.
- Add the chocolate to the Thermomix® bowl and chop speed 5, 10 seconds.
- Heat to 50C/Speed 2/ 3 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix the egg yolk and vanilla extract and stir to combine. When the chocolate is melted pour in a thin stream whisking together. (Don't pour the egg into the hot chocolate or you'll end up with scrambled eggs.)
- Add the cream to the bowl, whisking to combine.
- Finally, add the egg whites and gently fold them in. If you whisk or stir too vigorously you'll knock all the air out of the egg whites and your mousse will fall flat.
- Smaller ramekins or glasses are better for this desert as it is very rich.
- Place a layer of chocolate mousse in your serving dish and flatten out.
- Next you need a layer of basil. I find piping it around the edges first then in through the centre the easiest, before adding a final layer of chocolate. If you're confident in your piping skills, pipe a pattern of the basil cream on top - I messed it up first time, so scooped it up again, hence mine looks a bit chocolatey.
- You can serve it immediately for a light and fluffy mousse, but it's equally delicious, if a bit denser and less airy a few hours later.