P.S - you'll notice a change in my photo sizes from here on in - I'm hoping to make the blog more user-friendly for those of you who read this on a lap-top...hope you find it works well for you! :)
This is most definitely not a 1-step, 2 ingredient style mousse - this is an old-school classic mousse that requires a couple of steps. Do not freak out, they are all completely basic, and all it means is that you will end up with 4 separate components to fold together at the end - no biggie! (And by crikey the effort is worth it!)
32 fresh cherries, pitted
1/4 cup brandy or kirsch
350g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into smallish chunks
25g unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar plus 1 tbsp
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp brandy or kirsch
400ml cream, lightly whipped
I don't have a cherry pitter, so just chopped my cherries in half to get the pips out then popped them in a plastic container, covered them in brandy and left them overnight in the fridge.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer then melt chocolate and butter in a big bowl positioned on top of the pot (you need this bowl to be big because everything else will be added to it at the end) - do not let the base of the bowl touch the water or the chocolate can 'catch'. Whisk until the mixture is melted and smooth, then pop to one side.
Put the egg yolks, brandy and sugar in another bowl and now put that on top of the pot of simmering water. Whisk mixture for several minutes until paler (it doesn't go super-pale because of the brandy, but it is definitely paler) and thickened.
Whisk egg whites with the extra tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form, and in a separate bowl whip cream to soft peaks.
Rightiho, you now have four bowls of stuff in front of you - stir egg yolk mix into chocolate mix. Plop in a couple of tablespoons of cream and whisk that in so that it loosens slightly. Add remaining cream and fold in, then add egg whites and fold in. If necessary, get a little vigorous with your folding so that everything is well combined and smooth, if possible without knocking every last little bit of air out of it. (It might look like it is never going to combine, but keep going, it will!)
Divide cherries into 8 glasses - do not be afraid to spoon in a slurp of brandy with them... then spoon mousse mix on top. Give the glasses a little tap on the bench, and if you feel you need to, smooth the tops slightly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate 8 hours or over night. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving to avoid the disappointment of digging into a solid lump - they need to be close to room temperature to ensure the luscious velvety texture. Top with crumbled meringue and enjoy! Makes 8
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
2 teaspoons good quality dark cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 100˚C (210˚F). In a mixer whisk egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly add caster sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Rub a little of the mix between your thumb and forefinger, if you feel any grittiness, keep whisking, it takes longer than you think! Add cocoa and give one last blat on with the mixer to combine. Spoon teaspoonfuls onto a tray lined with baking paper and bake 90 minutes. Turn off oven and leave in the oven until cool and dry. Makes about 12. Store in an airtight container.