Oh, Sailor Mars, you’re just so very spicy. I had the least trouble coming up with Rei’s dessert. I had thoughts of chocolate, cinnamon and fiery cayenne pepper pretty much immediately. It came together so effortlessly that I kept waiting for something to go wrong! This one does require purchasing a demisphere mold, but it’s absolutely worth it. I’ll add a link to the specific mold I used at the bottom of this recipe.
ACT THREE: REI
Chocolate Sphere with Cayenne Pepper and Dark Chocolate Mousse, Toffee Bits
Yields: 3 mousse spheres.
Timing Notes: Be sure to set aside about 1-2 hours for your mousse to set.
Cayenne Pepper and Dark Chocolate Mousse, recipe follows
Cinnamon Toffee Bits, recipe follows
Spun Sugar, recipe follows
10 oz. Dark Chocolate
6 oz. White Chocolate
Red, Yellow and Gold Powdered Food Coloring
Vegetable oil, as needed
Vodka, Everclear or Other Clear Liquor (for painting)
1. Melt and temper your white chocolate. As usual, it’s also fine to do a “faux” temper by adding in a small amount of vegetable oil. 1/4-1/2 teaspoon should be enough. Split the white chocolate in half and dye half red and half yellow. Using a paintbrush (or your freshly washed hands, you do you), paint the cavities of your dome mold with horizontal smears of red and yellow. Allow to firm up.
2. Melt and temper your dark chocolate, or use a faux temper. Coat the demisphere mold with the dark chocolate. You can either brush it on, or spread it on with a spoon. If your chocolate is liquidy enough, your best bet is pouring it in and swirling it around for a nice even coat. Once you’re done, use an offset spatula to level off the tops. Allow the shells to firm up.
3. Fill your demispheres with your chocolate mousse to just below level. Sprinkle on a layer of toffee bits and chill until the mousse has firmed up. Reserve a bit of mousse outside of the fridge. Once the mousse has firmed up, pipe a small bulb of mousse into the center of 3 of your demispheres, and press it together with another demisphere.
4. Gently heat a pan in your oven or stove. Pick up one of your spheres and touch the bottom to the warm pan to melt and flatten the bottom. Place the sphere in the center of your dessert plate while the chocolate is still melty. Mix your gold food coloring with a few drops of clear liquor, and paint streaks of it onto your dome. You can also flick little dots of gold onto the sphere with your paintbrush. Adorn the plate with extra toffee bits, top your spheres with the spun sugar, and you’re done!
Dark Chocolate Mousse
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup whole milk
6 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (for spicier mousse, double this)
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over water and let sit 5 minutes to bloom. Heat the milk to a simmer in a small sauce pan. Pour hot milk over gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add finely chopped chocolate into hot milk mixture and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk together until the chocolate is totally melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Whip the heavy cream to soft-medium peaks. Once the chocolate mixture is no longer hot, fold the cream into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
Cinnamon Toffee Bits
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 small pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Combine all ingredients except for the cinnamon in a saucepan. Stir together and then cook until the mixture turns light brown. Pour the hot toffee onto parchment paper or a silicone mat and allow it to cool.
2. Once cool, move your toffee to a large plastic bag and crush into small pieces with a rolling pin or can. Add the cinnamon to the toffee and toss to coat.
Spun Sugar Garnish
1/4 cup corn syrup
4 oz sugar
2 tbsp water
1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir together and set them on medium heat. Once you put the syrup on the heat, do not stir it! You may swivel the saucepan slightly if you need to mix it further.
2. Cook the sugar to 300F, using a candy thermometer or a cold water test. (To do cold water test, drop a bit of sugar into a cup of cold water. If it forms threads that snap and break when bent, the sugar is ready.)
3. Once the sugar reaches 300F, remove the saucepan from the heat. Swirl it gently until it cools a bit. Dip a metal fork into the sugar and pull it up. You want the sugar to be cool enough to form threads. Once it does, dip the fork into the sugar and very quickly swirl it back and forth over a sheet of parchment or silicone mat. If you want to give the sugar a bit of a curl, gently move the mat/parchment while the sugar strings are still a bit warm. If your sugar becomes too cold to make threads, carefully reheat it on the stovetop until just melted and continue making sugar threads. Once done, pick the pieces you like most and dust them gently with gold dust.
This dessert was much, much easier for me than Ami’s, probably because I wasn’t relying on a wonky freezer! The mousse is creamy and delicious and the toffee adds a nice crunch.
One final tip: don’t add the toffee and assemble these until shortly before you’re serving them. Sandwiched between the mousse for a while, toffee will melt and become kind of a syrup. It’s a delicious syrup, but it lacks crunch. Plus, no one likes a leaky chocolate sphere.
Note: The above is an Amazon affiliate link.