It was so enjoyable having our friends stay over recently – they had previously spent a holiday in Brittany visiting relatives and brought us a bag of local treats – a delightful Kouign Aman (traditional butter and sugar cake), galettes, pancakes and the most amazing salted butter caramel spread ever! In Brittany, every Bretons and Bretonnes believe that life cannot exist without butter. We ate everything as fast as we could, inspiring me to make more. Too much of a good thing is a good thing.
Cuisine is like matrimony, so I coupled chocolate mousse with chunks of salted butter caramel. A perfect pair. I served them in my ‘Titanic’ ice-cream cups – they were bought years ago from a stall selling curious furniture and tableware from old ships at a flea market in Paris. Eating out of these cups brings me back to a different place and time.
The chocolate mousse is so easy to make, and so is the caramel recipe – just make sure not to over-heat to prevent a burnt caramel. It’s all about patience – the beautiful golden beige colour will appear before you know it. If you have any leftovers, you can make lovely caramel bonbons and wrap them in pretty candy paper wraps. They are best stored in the fridge.
Ingredients (serve 4 to 6):
For the salted butter caramel (serves 6 or approx 40 caramels):
250 g crème fraîche
250 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch of salt (I use fleur de sel de Guérande)
50 g good quality salted butter
In a pan, boil the crème fraîche to a gentle simmer, add sugar and cook slowly on a medium to low heat for 20 minutes or more, or until the caramel becomes a lovely golden beige colour (make sure not to over-boil/heat as it will burn very easily). Do not stir for the first 10 minutes, you can slowly occasionally shake the pan. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and return to the heat for a few more minutes. The caramel should be sticky, thick and pasty. Pour caramel on a large sheet of parchment paper. You can pour making a circular or square shape (anything is fine as you will be chopping it into chunks later). Let the caramel cool, add another sheet of parchment paper to cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut into desired amount of rough chunks.
For the chocolate mousse:
150 g black chocolate
4 eggs (separated)
60 grs caster sugar
40 ml double cream
Melt chocolate and cream on a low heat. Set aside and let it cool. In two large bowls, separate the eggs, whisk the egg yolks with half of the sugar until fluffy. In the other bowl, whisk egg whites till firm, incorporating the other half of the sugar. Add the melted chocolate/cream mixture (once it’s cooled) to the egg yolks, then fold in gently the stiff egg whites and the equivalent of two handfuls of caramel chunks (or more if desired!). Divide the chocolate mousse into individual ramekins, sprinkle with more chunks of caramel, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.