On my very first trip abroad I traveled to Italy in the springtime. In Florence I tasted a simple but memorable dessert of wild strawberries tossed in balsamic vinegar with a bit of sugar. 30 years later I recalled that dessert when I came upon this recipe in the chocolate cookbook Chococo from the UK. The chocolate mousse combines the classic combination of balsamic and berries with dark chocolate. Use good quality balsamic and chocolate for the best taste. The mousse is layered over macerated berries then topped with fresh berries. It is a fresh take on traditional chocolate mousse and so pretty to serve for Valentine’s Day.
BALSAMIC BERRY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
2/3 c fresh strawberries
2/3 c fresh raspberries
1 t icing sugar, more to dust
150 g dark chocolate 70% cacao or higher
2/3 c unsalted butter
2 egg yolks ar room temperature
3 egg whites, at room temperature
2 T light brown sugar
1 T aged btalsamic vinegar
Reserve enough berries to top your mousse for serving. Using a fork, mash the berries slightly and toss with the icing sugar. Divide equally on the bottom of your serving dishes. If using small espresso cups, you will get 6 small servings. I used martini glasses and got 3 servings.
Melt the chocolate, add the butter and stir until melted. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time and then add the balsamic.
With a handheld electric mixer and in another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the light brown sugar and whisk again to peaking. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate and only mix until incorporated so as not to deflate the egg whites. Spoon the mousse into each serving dish. Set in refrigerator, covered, at least 1 hour or overnight. When ready to serve, top with the reserved berries and dust with a bit of icing sugar.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M Schulz
Happy Valentine’s Day!