This recipe is a frozen chocolate mousse filled with some soft candied fruit, sour cherries and nougatine, a caramalized mixture of sugar and flaked almonds- a truly delightful dessert!
When you hear the word nougat (pronounced Nu-gah), you may think of the candy made of honey, sugar, candied fruit and flaked almonds- something I wasn’t particularly attracted to as a kid growing up. However, in recent years, chefs have been incorporating the concept of nougat into a frozen chocolate mousse made from whipped cream and meringue- now you can count me in!
When you bite into the frozen dessert, your senses are further awakened by the bright red cherry sauce and the sprigs of fresh mint accompanying the dish.
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A few words about making the Nougatine filling:
First, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the 1/2 cup (115 g) sugar and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch carefully as the sugar can easily burn.
Next, add the 1/2 cup (50 g) slivered almonds to the pan and stir until they turn golden brown. Transfer the mixture onto parchment paper that has been brushed with some vegetable oil and spread evenly using a spatula.
Let the nougatine cool, then place another piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture and crush coarsely using a rolling pin, rolling the pin back and forth across the mixture.
Note: the recipe calls for filling the chocolate mousse with the nougatine, candied fruit and sour cherries, but you can reduce or eliminate some of the components if desired.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 50 g (1/2 cup) flaked almonds
- 115 g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 200 g (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp) sugar, cooked to 118 C (245 F)
- 2 tbsp water
- 4 egg whites
- 180 g (3/4 cup) dark cooking chocolate
- 450 (3 ½ cups) ml thick cream, whipped
- 80 g (1/2 cup) candied fruit, diced
- 40 canned sour cherries (‘Morello’ or other kind of sour cherries)
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) juice from the canned sour cherries
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Dash of balsamic vinegar
- Fresh mint leaves
- Sour cherries
- Flaked almonds
- Crushed nougatine
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the flaked almonds and stir until they turn golden brown. Transfer the mixture to a piece of parchment paper that has been lightly brushed with vegetable oil and spread evenly with a spatula. Let cool, place another layer of parchment paper on top of the mixture and crush coarsely using a rolling pin.
- Place the 200 g sugar in a saucepan along with 2 tbsp water. Over medium high heat, stir the sugar until it comes almost to a boiling point, reaching a maximum of 118 C (245 F). In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Gradually pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg whites while continuing to mix with the electric beaters. Continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and shiny, with soft peaks forming.
- Whip the cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form and set aside.
- To melt the chocolate, place it in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over a pot of simmering water. Heat until chocolate is completely melted. Remove bowl from heat, stir in the candied fruit and sour cherries. Now gently fold in the Italian meringue, whipped cream and crushed nougatine into the mixture, keeping the mixture light and fluffy.
- Pour the mixture into ring molds that have been placed on parchment-lined baking trays and place in freezer for several hours. Alternatively, you can transfer mixture into several loaf pans (7 inch by 3 inches). Before serving, prepare the sour cherry coulis: heat the juice from the canned sour cherries in a small saucepan, add the sugar and dash of balsamic vinegar, stir for several minutes until the mixture thickens.
- To serve, remove the frozen mixture from the ring molds by running a sharp knife around the edge of the mold and ‘push through’ the mixture onto a serving plate. Place some flaked almonds and crushed nougatine on top of the frozen nougat, a sour cherry and a mint leaf. Decorate the edge of the plate with some of the cherry coulis, sour cherries and mint leaves.