Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just Desserts (Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse, Poached Cherries)

I'm not afraid to admit it: I love dark chocolate. It's rich and full-bodied, and in my opinion, far superior to milk chocolate in every way. Seeing as it's getting close to Valentine's Day and I was craving something chocolatey, salty and sweet, I came across an idea for a Dark Chocolate Mousse with Poached Cherries and knew that would hit the spot, so to speak.

Your other half will love you for making this

Chocolate and cherries really are a perfect pairing. Dark chocolate (I used 70%) has a somewhat bitter taste, but accompany it with the sweet, tart poached cherries and the results are spectacular. It doesn't hurt that they also look beautiful together.

Perfect pairing
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Poached Cherries
Adapted from Bon Appetit

For the Poached Cherries:
8 oz cherries, halved and pitted
1/3 c cherry preserves
1/3 c cherry juice (just cherries, no cocktail mixes!)

For the Mousse:
1 1/4 c cold whipping cream, divided
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Seeds from a vanilla bean
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Slow and steady wins the race
Pit the cherries, leaving them as intact as possible. I find the best way to do this is to pull the stem and make a slit all the way around the stone. Gently twist the two halves to separate, and carefully use your paring knife to knock the pit out.

Cherry triple-threat
Combine cherries, juice and preserves in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring often, until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy, approximately 10 minutes.

All poached up
Remove the from heat, pour the cherry mixture into a bowl, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Straight-up vanilla goodness
Remove the seeds from a vanilla bean. Do this by carefully making a slit down the entire length of the bean, and opening up the two flaps created. Slide your knife along the inside of the bean, pushing out the vanilla seeds. Combine 1/4 cup cream with cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan.

Whisk away
Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Beat the remaining cream in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form as you remove the beaters. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, about a 1/4 at a time. Divide the mousse into serving containers (I find martini glasses really showcase this special treat exceptionally well).  Chill for 4 hours.

Coming together
Add the chilled poached cherries over the mousse. Garnish with additional bits of rough chopped chocolate and mint sprigs. Enjoy!

Simply decadent


beti said...

I love this decoration, the picture looks fantastic!

AEthanP said...

Thanks, Beti! It tasted just as good as it looks (if not better!)

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great treat--and so much better than chocolate-covered cherries from a box!

Tracy @ Buy Right Daily - Deal Blog said...

Stunning shots! Exactly my idea of heavenly food.