pyramid-mousse-entremetsHazelnut “Chique de Bavay” & white chocolate mousse in chocolate pyramid

Think: “clouds of chocolate mousse melting on my tongue…”

A few weeks ago we made the most wonderfully fluffy chocolate mousse at school.  Inspired by photos of chocolate encaged desserts, it seemed only natural what the next dessert would be. For a good color contrast, and to test out one of the more curious ingredients in my cupboard, I substituted white chocolate for dark and added a splash of hazelnut “Chique de Bavay” syrup.  No one at the table was disappointed.

What is a Chique de Bavay you might wonder… As you probably know, many regions of France are famous for their wines and dishes. In the same way, many cities in France are famous for a dessert or candy.  Chiques de Bavay are little hard candies, traditionally flavored with a lovely sweet mint, but come also in a few other flavors.  They are in fact my favorite mint candies.  I sometimes pass by the town of Bavay and once stopped chez Monsieur Kamette, the man who makes les Chiques de Bavay.  I tasted a few different candies and bought a little bag of chiques.  Just before leaving he showed me the syrup he uses to flavor the candies. Upon opening the container of hazelnut syrup, the air seemed to glisten and my knees went weak.  He didn’t have any to sell at that moment, but a year later I ran into him again at a market and promptly exchanged a few euros for a little container of my memory. It’s a very concentrated syrup to be used like vanilla extract or the like.

The secret to this chocolate mousse is the way you mix it. Don’t change the order of ingredients. Follow the steps. It holds well if you want to use it between layers of cake (we used it in a black forest cake at school), or you can just put it in bowls and serve with Russian cigarettes. I’ll give you the original recipe using dark chocolate, but if you want to try out different flavors, just use white chocolate instead and a couple teaspoons of flavoring.

Recipe for Mousse au Chocolat:

2 egg yolks
65 g sugar syrup (30° Baumé, which means bring 100 ml of water and 135 g sugar to a boil) any extra syrup can be stored in  the fridge for a couple weeks and used to sweeten drinks or make other desserts)
130 g dark chocolate
260 g whipped cream

First, prepare the “pâte à bombe.” Put your sugar syrup and egg yolks in a bowl over a double boiler and heat while whisking with a whip until the mixture is as thick as a “crème anglaise.” It will be at about 83°C and when you dip a spoon in, then run your finger across the back of the spoon, your finger leaves a trace.  When your egg-syrup mixture is ready, put it in a KitchenAid at full speed, or mix with an electric mixer. Allow to turn at full speed until the mixture has lightened in color, taken a little volume, and cooled down a bit. You now have a pâte à bombe.

Second, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. It needs to be nice and hot, around 45°C.

Third, put your cream (heavy whipping or double cream) in a cold bowl and whip until peaks form, being careful not to over-whip. (If you are adding a flavoring, this is where you want to add it).

Fourth: Assemble!  Using a whisk, add a little melted chocolate to the whipped cream and whisk well, but not more than you need to. Add the rest of the melted chocolate whisking well. Throw the whisk in the sink and pull out a spatula to carefully fold in the “pâte à bombe” or whipped egg syrup mixture.  And there you have it: my favorite chocolate mousse.

To make the chocolate cage, I melted some chocolate, decorated some silicon mouldes and put in the freezer. When frozen, I filled with mousse and froze again. When frozen I simply punched out the little pyramids and kept in the fridge until serving with a little red currant coulis. It was a good dessert to follow a meal. Rich and everything you want without being heavy or overpowering. Trop bon!


One comment

  1. These mousses look fabulous! Man, hearing your description of that syrup, I wish I could get my hands on it. It sounds so fragrant and delicious. I can’t wait to try my hand at mousse-making!

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