Silky Chocolate Mousse

This is one of my favourite desserts because it takes so little effort and you can make it well ahead of time – the perfect set and forget dinner party dessert. I like a hint of Bailey’s Irish Cream in my mousse, but this can be omitted if you’re serving it to children or swapped for any other liqueur of your choice – creme de menthe for a choc-mint or Cointreau for a choc-orange mousse would both work well.

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Ingredients (serves 8)
300g good quality dark chocolate
50g butter
3 eggs, separated
1-2 tblspns Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
¼ cup caster sugar
300ml thickened cream

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Method
Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat until smooth. Remove from heat.

Stir in egg yolks, one a a time, and Bailey’s liqueur. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool.

Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until it dissolves between additions.

Beat cream until thoroughly whipped and thick. Gently combine with the chocolate mixture and then fold in the egg white mixture in two batches, taking care not to over-mix the mousse.

Divide mousse among eight ½-cup serving dishes (I use glasses). Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours).

Serve with fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Best Food Desserts.

Chocolate Praline Cake

This has been my favourite cake for as long as I can remember. A rich, fudgy brownie-like base topped with a crunchy, sweet praline topping – what more could you want? I love serving this with fresh raspberries and double cream.

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Ingredients
Cake
180g butter, chopped
200g dark chocolate melts
3 eggs
250g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
50g plain flour

Praline Topping
100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 ½  tblspns golden syrup
60g flaked almonds

Method
Melt butter & chocolate in a microwave or double boiler, stir until smooth.

Beat eggs and sugar until creamy and changed in colour.

Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and stir to combine.

Fold sifted almond meal and flour into mixture and mix well.

Pour mixture into a greased and based-lined 19x29cm rectangular slice pan & spread evenly. Bake at 175°C for 30mins then cool in tin.

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For the topping, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, boil for 2 mins. Spread topping over cake.

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Bake at 175°C for a further 10-15 mins or until topping golden brown. Cool in tin (topping will harden on cooling).

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Cut into desired shape and size and serve with berries and whipped cream.

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Keeps for 5 days in an airtight container.

Adapted from the Australian Gourmet Traveller, November 1996.