Okay, people, this one will test your endurance maybe. Read it through, pour yourself a coffee, repeat the mantra “Damn I CAN do this” and go for it. Reads harder than it really is to make.
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 oz. unsalted butter
- 2 gelatin sheets
- 1/4 cup amber rum (1 oz. for you…just kidding)
- 3/4 cup chestnut puree, chilled*
- 3/4 cup berry sugar
- 2 cups whipped cream, chilled
- 1 tsp. vanilla paste**
- gold flakes (edible) for garnish
Butter a 9 inch springform pan and line the base and sides with parchment paper, extending it 2 inches over the rim and butter it all again.
Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water surface. Stir constantly until it has completely melted and the butter has been incorporated. Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan, spreading all over with a spatula as uniformly as possible, but leaving the top of the sides jagged and rough for a better appearance. Chill until firm.
Soften the 2 sheets of gelatin in 2 cups of cold water for 5 minutes. Heat rum in a small pan to lukewarm and remove from the heat. Drain the gelatin, squeezing out excess water and then add to the warm rum, stirring to dissolve completely. Cool to room temperature.
To make the mousse, blend the chestnut puree with sugar and rum mixture until smooth (stop drooling…you have to wait until you are done). Whip the cream and vanilla bean until stiff peaks form. Add 1 cup of the whipped cream to the chestnut puree. Carefully fold in the remaining cream. Pour this into the chocolate lined springform pan, making sure the mousse only goes as high as the LOWEST part of the jagged edge of the shell. Refrigerate overnight for sure.
Remove from the refrigerator, unclip the springform and c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y remove the sides. Peel the parchment paper from the base and sides. Place on a serving platter and decorate the top of the mousse with some edible gold flecks.
* can be purchased in any specialty store or bake shop
** simply cut a vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds
Serve immediately, either just scooping out the mousse and breaking up the chocolate into pieces or cutting with an exceptionally sharp serrated knife. Either way it is delicious and fabulous to see.