Chocolate Praline Mousse

16 February 2005

As I couldn’t make any chocolate desserts for valentine, I’m trying to make up for lost time… so I might make lots of chocolatey posts over the coming week, but I’m sure nobody would mind :)

I found this recipe in Vogue Entertaining + Travel about two years ago – it’s an Alain Ducasse recipe and looked irresistible! I really like the combination of chocolate and nuts or caramel and this dessert has almond praline in the chocolate mousse. It’s quite simple to make – you need to make praline first, in the recipe they use almonds but I tried with hazelnuts and I actually prefer it with hazelnuts (you could use a mixture of both). Before I first tried making praline I was a bit scared, but it isn’t difficult as long as you are careful enough about when the caramel is ready – then tip in the roasted nuts. You can keep the praline in the freezer for months.

While cooling the praline you can make the chocolate sponge for the base (or the other way round if you prefer). To make the mousse, you heat some corn syrup (I can’t seem to find corn syrup here in the UK, so I use a smaller amount of golden syrup instead), water and gelatine, then add chocolate. Fold some lightly whipped double cream and ground praline. I tend to put quite a bit of praline in because I really like the nutty flavour! In the recipe they pour ganache over, but I found it a little too rich – I personally prefer it just with the mousse so that you can taste the praline better. Yum!
 

        25 comments    Permalink

  • hi keiko! i wish i liked chocolate enough to make this, but i’m glad someone does--it’s gorgeous! i’m surprised that the recipe asks for corn syrup, as i think many people consider corn syrup to be bad (bad for you, and just bad form). maybe i’m wrong about that...?

    Posted by santos | 16 February 2005 #
  • Looks absolutely divine.

    Posted by obachan | 16 February 2005 #
  • Looks and sounds fantastic, Keiko!

    Posted by Moira | 16 February 2005 #
  • I’ve now read every page Keiko and, of course, am extremely impressed. Neil and I have come up with a great idea for your site (for entirely selfless reasons of course!!) - a photo diary of one of your exquisite Japanese meals. Let’s talk! In the meantime, roll on Aldeburgh!

    Posted by Cheryl and Neil | 17 February 2005 #
  • Santos - I didn’t know corn syrup was a bad thing! so golden syrup is a baddie as well then? I quite like just licking it though!

    Obachan - Thank you, you must be a big chocolate fan too...

    Moira - Thanks, more chocolatey desserts coming up!

    Cheryl and Neil - Thank you for your kind words... I don’t think I’m good at cooking Japanese meals (I mean it), but we’ll do another Japanese night soon (at your lovely kitchen, if you don’t mind). I’m really looking forward to the day course at Aldeburgh, it’d be great fun!

    Posted by keiko | 17 February 2005 #
  • hi keiko--i think golden syrup is okay because it’s made from cane sugar. i think the reason corn syrup is bad because it’s included in almost everything in the united states, which is contributing to the obesity of the nation. i think there’s another reason why corn syrup is worse for you than cane syrup but i can’t think of it right now.

    Posted by santos | 19 February 2005 #
  • hi, keiko-san,

    absolutely beaugiful blog!!! i love this!!
    i finally get this page, my shabby imac didn’t show your page,
    i have to buy new mac soon (good excuse to myself :)

    i remembered your opera, monblanc, cinnabon...and this Chocolate praline mousse, i thought i was so lucky to eat your sweets!

    i hope see you soon!

    Posted by sagami | 19 February 2005 #
  • Hi Santos

    Hmm, your comments remind me of watching Super Size Me.
    Let me know when you remember the other reason...

    Hi Sagami-san

    Thank you for visiting - Yes, I think that is a very good excuse to buy a new Mac too :) I’m trying to make ’new’ desserts, I’ve got too many books but I’m too far behind in trying out the recipes! Hopefully see you next week.

    Posted by keiko | 21 February 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko
    Why not post the recipe for this? I was hoping to see it.

    Posted by Ana | 27 February 2005 #
  • Hi Ana - thanks for visiting, I promise I’ll put the recipe up shortly!

    Posted by keiko | 1 March 2005 #
  • Hi Ana - Sorry for such a late response, here is the recipe.

    **Hazelnut or almond praline**

    300g caster sugar
    1 cup cold water
    90g roasted hazelnuts or almonds

    Have ready a large metal tray lined with baking paper and sit it on a board or thick tea-towel. Put the sugar and water into small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring and bring the liquid to the boil. Continue to boil the liquid, washing down the sides of the pan occasionally with a brush dipped in water (This washes away any sugar crystals which can otherwise make the toffee crystallised and cloudy). The mixture will slowly change from being quite watery to a clear, thick syrup and will become thicker as it cooks, with slow bubbles covering the surface. From here on you will need to watch it like a hawk. The syrup will change the colour, becoming a light gold caramel, after which it will darken very quickly. The trick is knowing when the caramel is ready, because if you leave it too long it will burn, not long enough and it will be pale and lacking in flavour. For praline, it should be a deep golden brown, but bear in mind that it will continue to cook a little once you take it off the heat.

    When ready, remove the pan from the heat, immediately tip in the nuts and swirl them around so they are well coated. Pour the mixture out onto the tray, holding the tray with a thick cloth and tilting it gently so that a thin layer of toffee and nuts forms. Leave it to cool and set completely, then break it into large chunks and layer them in an airtight container, with sheets of baking paper between each to stop them from sticking together. Freeze the praline then, when you need it, just take as much as you want. If you need it finely crushed you can grind it in a blender or processor, or put it into a double layer of thick plastic bags and pond it with a rolling pin. Be careful not to overwork it in a food processor or the praline turn to a paste.

    **Ganache**

    300g dark Valrhona chocolate
    300ml double cream

    Break the chocolate into a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate, then stir together until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature before using it to glaze the cakes.

    *Note: excess ganache left after coating the cakes can be stored in the refrigerator for another use.*

    **Alain Ducasse chocolate dessert Louis XV**

    1 prepared plain or chocolate sponge cake
    40ml water
    30g corn syrup
    1 sheet gelatine, softened in cold water
    150g dark Valrhona chocolate
    300ml softly whipped double cream
    Almond praline
    Ganache
    To serve:
    gold leaf and chocolate frill (optional)
    good-quality cocoa

    Bring the water and corn syrup to the boil in a saucepan and remove from the heat. Squeeze the excess moisture from the gelatine, add to the pan and stir until dissolved. Break the chocolate into a bowl, then pour the warm mixture over the chocolate. Stir until smooth and set aside.

    Place 12x10cm metal rings on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cut out discs of sponge, 3mm-thick, to line the base of each. Gently fold the whipped cream and some praline into the chocolate mixture and pour into each ring. Cool for 2 hours until set. Remove the cakes from the tings and place on a wire rack over a tray. Pour the Ganache over each cake and transfer to the refrigerator to set.

    To serve: place the cakes on individual plates and decorate with some gold leaf and a chocolate frill and dust with cocoa.
    *Pure gold leaf is available from artists’ suppliers. The chocolate frill is made by pouring melted chocolate onto a smooth cool surface, allowing it to set firmly at room temperature, then pushing out a frill using a metal spatula. Alternatively, you can shave some chocolate on top.*

    Posted by keiko | 9 March 2005 #
  • Hello. I’ve just stumbled upon your page searching for a Louis XV recipe so thank you. The reason corn syrup is very bad for you is that it may cause a condition called fatty liver. I’d imagine the reason it’s used so often in the U.S. is the low cost due to large corn production. I hope that helped and thanks again for the recipe. Also, any tips on preventing the praline from burning. Thanks

    Posted by Jennifer | 4 July 2005 #
  • Hi Jennifer - thank you for your info on corn syrup, it seems like a real baddie, doesn’t it... As for the tips on preventing the praline from burning, I think you just have to be careful... make sure you don’t cook too much as it keeps cooking even after you take the pan from the heat.

    Posted by keiko | 15 July 2005 #
  • Seeing (what I’ve seen so far, and they’re just a few) your amazing photos leaves me speechless. I’ll be visiting your blog for the next few weeks just so I can read every entry! You are an amazing chef, and a true inspiration for all of us who love to eat and how I like to put it, play in the kitchen.

    Posted by mel | 31 July 2005 #
  • Mel - thank you for your kind words, I look forward to reading your posts too!

    Posted by keiko | 9 August 2005 #
  • TOP TOP TOP

    CONGRATULATIONS!

    Posted by Bart Taveirne | 15 November 2005 #
  • Hi Bart - thanks for your notes!

    Posted by keiko | 23 November 2005 #
  • Can you tell me do you make the sponge cake or buy one.
    If so how do you nake it or which one do you buy.?

    Many Thanks

    Memi

    Posted by Memi | 27 May 2007 #
  • This dessert won the “Best Dessert in the World” on the great Meals TV show on BBC.

    Great to not have to travel to Monaco to try this so Thankyou and will tell you how I get on and what the Fiance thinks on her Birthday

    Posted by Steven Eley | 14 August 2007 #
  • Hi there, thank you for your notes and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you.

    Memi – I made the sponge, you can find many chocolate sponge recipes online. Some suggest using both chocolate and cocoa powder but I normally add only cocoa powder for this kind of sponge.

    Steven – as much as I wish someone could take me to the restaurant in Monaco :) I think the homemade version is pretty good! Hope you and your fiance enjoyed it.

    Posted by keiko | 22 January 2008 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Your site looks awesome! I am so impressed. Also, thanks for the recipe. Question, how to pour the ganache to get the smooth surface? What is your technique to cover the side of the cake? I couldn’t do it right…

    Thanks,

    lingling

    Posted by lingling | 11 February 2008 #
  • Hi lingling – although his recipe includes ganache on top of the mousse, as you can see I actually didn’t use any for mine. I normally make ganache with cocoa powder and gelatine rather than actual chocolate, which seems a little too rich for me. Either way, it needs to be the right consistency when you pour – soft enough to smooth over with a palette knife after you pour it. You may want to experiment a bit, hope you can find the right consistency!

    Posted by keiko | 14 February 2008 #
  • I have just seen this dessert being made on a TV show called ‘Greatest dishes in the world’. It won best dessert…This is the only place I found it on the internet, so thanks so much. I am just off to go and make it! Cheaper than flying to Monaco to try it in Louis XV restaurant.

    Posted by Stuart Ray | 21 September 2008 #
  • flat out elegant..

    Posted by ondine | 27 March 2009 #
  • What a classy blog…..beautiful shots and recipes

    Posted by hadia | 9 December 2012 #
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