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Chocolate variations

12 April 2013

iStock

AS the Easter card trade really begins to catch on, and a collective chocolate frenzy grips the nation, I am quietly confident that the Easter Bunny is going to rival Santa Claus in a few years' time. Meanwhile, Easter has already become synonymous with chocolate; so I have been practising variations on a chocolate theme. The absolute favourite and best is the classic, simple, Chocolate mousse. It serves 6-8 people.

200g (7 oz) dark chocolate
4 eggs, separated 

Place the chocolate, broken into pieces, into a bowl over a pan of simmering water, and let it come to melting point before taking it off the heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the beaten egg-yolks to the chocolate. Using a metal spoon, slacken the chocolate mixture slightly with some of the beaten egg-whites, and then gently fold together.

That's all - although you can always add a dash of brandy or rum or Cointreau, and decorate with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, good quality mini-eggs, chocolate-covered coffee-beans, or a dusting of cocoa powder.

It is worth melting some plain chocolate, and spreading it on a sheet of greaseproof paper. When it is just set, drag a knife across it to make those wonderful chocolate shavings you see on cakes in Continental patisseries.

This Chocolate cream recipe uses a mixture of milk and cream in place of half the eggs.

225g (8 oz) dark chocolate
400 ml (14 fl. oz) double cream
150 ml (5 fl. oz) milk
50g (1½ oz) icing sugar
2 egg yolks
cocoa powder, to dust

Break up the chocolate into small pieces, and put them into a large bowl. Boil the cream gently, and then pour it straight over the chocolate. Stir together until the chocolate melts. Mix the milk, icing sugar, and yolks together, and then pour this into the chocolate cream mixture. Divide into ramekins, and chill overnight.

Another Chocolate cream uses just one egg, but more cream and marscapone.

200g (7 oz) dark chocolate
170ml (6 fl. oz) double cream
60ml (2 fl. oz) milk
1 large egg
225ml (8 fl oz) mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)

Break the chocolate into pieces and put them in a bowl. Combine the cream and milk, bring them to the boil, and pour the mixture straight over the chocolate to melt it. Add the egg, and stir everything until smoothly combined. Divide the mixture between 6-8 little pots, and when they are cool, put them in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, whip the mascarpone with the rum (if you are using it - or you could thin it with a little milk or cream), and spread this as a layer on top of each pot.

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