Nigel Slater's recipe for chocolate espresso mousse with pralines

A thrilling and creamy little sweet treat with a caffeine kick


Classic mocha mocha. Make a strong espresso and dissolve 2 tsp of caster sugar in it. Place a pot of water over medium heat and place it over a heat-safe glass or china bowl, which fits snugly into the pot without the bottom touching the water.

Break a generous 120g of dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl, then immediately add the sweet espresso. Avoid stirring until the chocolate is melted, then add 50g unsalted butter and stir gently until combined.

Separate 4 medium to large eggs, whites in one bowl, yolks in another. Add 120g of caster sugar to the egg yolks and beat until thick, pale and thick. Now, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until thick and fluffy. Be careful not to beat the egg whites. They should be able to stand on soft mounds rather than stiff peaks.

Garnish with sugared rose petals if you wish

Using a metal spoon or plastic spatula, dip the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture. Fold in the egg whites, gently but firmly, until no egg white is visible. Pour into a small saucepan or glass and leave in the fridge for 2 hours to set.

Grease a baking sheet with a little peanut oil or vegetable oil. Place 100g of skinned almonds in a shallow dry nonstick skillet and sprinkle with 4 tbsp caster sugar. Place over low to medium heat and watch carefully as the sugar melts. Do not stir, but move the nuts around the pan occasionally by tilting the pan gently from side to side to cover them with melted sugar. When the sugar turns to a pale honey-gold, place the nuts on a greased baking sheet and allow them to cool.

Place the nuts and caramel in a food processor and crush into coarse crumbs or place in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Spread it over the top of the mousses, garnish with sugared rose petals if you wish, and serve. Makes 4 small cups.

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