Delice de chocolat with apricot sauce

I made this for dessert on New Year’s Eve. It was a bit time-consuming but well worth the effort. It is pretty rich but not too heavy and not too sweet either.

Ingredients

2 x 100g bars of 85% cocoa solids plain chocolate
500ml double cream
3 eggs, separated
25ml Amaretto liqueur
100g unsalted butter
half a packet of amaretti biscuits
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
100g of raw almonds
3 apricots preserved in alcohol plus two tablespoons of the alcohol
2 teaspoons of cornflour mixed to a thin paste with cold water
50ml orange juice
2 teaspoons of agave nectar (you may not need all of this)

You will first have to roast the almonds, which is simple stuff, 15 minutes in a 160C oven on a roasting tray is sufficient. When they have cooled, blitz them in a processor until they form a light crumb, but don’t go as far as to make them like ground almonds.

Then blitz the amaretti biscuits and mix with 75g of melted butter. Allow this to cool slightly

Line a 20cm spring mould with greaseproof paper (smearing a little flavourless oil over the mould will help the paper stick).

Put the blitzed amaretti and butter mixture into the mould and smooth it out so that it forms a base for the delice. Refrigerate until required.

Now make your mousse.

Break the chocolate up and melt over a low heat with the double cream. You want it smooth and evenly-coloured. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Blend the egg yolks with the remaining butter, the vanilla extract and the Amaretto liqueur until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add in the chocolate cream and mix until smooth.

Now, add one tablespoon of egg white to loosen the mixture and stir in until it vanishes. Now fold in the rest of the egg white with a metal spoon and gently mix until it is all amalgamated and no white streaks remain. Pour this mousse into the mould, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 6-7 hours. It needs to be set before you add the almond topping.

Make your apricot sauce by blending the apricots with their alcohol (remove the stones first) to make a smooth purée and sieve into a small saucepan. Add the orange juice and taste it. If it seems too sharp, add the agave nectar a bit at a time, stir and taste again. When you are happy with it, add the cornflour paste and stir over a low heat until it has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug or a squeezy bottle with a nozzle if you have one. Refrigerate until required.

When you are going to serve this, first sprinkle the roasted almonds over the mousse and smooth out gently. Next, carefully remove the delice from the mould and place on a flat serving dish You should be able to loosen the base of the mould with a palette knife and just slide it off. Unpeel the greaseproof paper from the sides of the delice.

The delice should be firm enough to hold its shape when you cut it but any left over has to go back into the fridge before it melts.To make sure it doesn’t collapse in the fridge and to protect it, replace the ring of the spring mould and cover with clingfilm.

Serve wedges of the delice on top of the apricot sauce and with a dollop of crème fraiche.

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