It’s no easy feat, but Mark Best’s chocolate mousse ‘écrasé’ with eucalyptus and coconut is a true bite of culinary chasms
“Prior to becoming the poster boy for stock cubes, a young Marco Pierre White published one of the definitive culinary books: White Heat.
This book inspired a generation of young chefs with his most pithy expression ‘you can’t re-invent the [culinary] wheel, but you can put new tyres on it’.
Even the ubiquitous chocolate mousse can be re-invented, as evidenced in this dish. By giving the mousse an angular shape the diner’s visual clues are obscured.”
1 Begin this recipe one day in advance. To make the chocolate mousse. Combine 10 grams pure cocoa powder and 5 grams salt and set aside.
2 Melt 200 grams 50 per cent-minimum-cacao chocolate and keep warm at 45°C over a bain-marie. Set up another bain-marie and whisk 170 grams eggs and 70 grams caster sugar together over the gentle steam to sabayon stage.
3 Once thick and fluff y, remove the eggs from the heat, sift in the cocoa and salt and whisk to combine. Add the melted chocolate in a thin stream while whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Whisk 370 millilitres pouring cream to very soft peaks.
4 Fold in half the cream at a time. Pour the mousse into a 1∕6th gastronorm tray. Freeze until solid.
5 Once frozen solid, remove the mousse from the container by quickly warming the outside of the gastronorm. Working carefully, half-fill a small thermal container with liquid nitrogen. Immerse the mousse in the nitrogen for 2 minutes.
6 Remove the mousse from the nitrogen with tongs and place in a deep tray. Use a pestle to shatter the mousse into large chunks. Set aside any small chunks in a container for garnish.
7 Transfer the large pieces of shattered mousse to a tray lined with baking paper, spacing them so none are touching, and store in the blast freezer until ready to spray with chocolate.
8 To make the chocolate spray mixture, melt 175 grams cocoa butter and 250 grams 70 per cent-minimum-cacao chocolate over separate bain-maries.
9 Whisk the cocoa butter into the chocolate to combine. Strain the mixture through a chinoise to remove any small particles that may clog the chocolate spray gun.
10 Pour the warm chocolate spray mix into a chocolate spray gun. Pull the chocolate mousse tray out of the blast freezer and place it on the workbench. Set a large cardboard box around the tray to prevent any mess.
11 Spray the chocolate mousse on all sides of the pieces of chocolate mousse then return to the blast freezer. Allow the first coat to set then apply one more coat, ensuring all the mousse pieces are completely covered.
12 Transfer the sprayed mousse to a clean tray lined with baking paper. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to thaw in the refrigerator.
13 To make the coconut sorbet, combine 450 millilitres coconut milk, 200 millilitres sugar syrup (3 parts sugar: 4 parts water), 50 grams corn syrup and 15 millilitres lime juice.
14 Whisk well then pass through a chinoise and pour into a Pacojet beaker. Freeze until solid. Churn in the Pacojet just prior to serving.
15 Pick the large unblemished leaves from ½ bunch mint. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for 1 minute then refresh in iced water. Once cool, remove from the water and drain on paper towels.
16 Make a sugar syrup by bringing 100 grams caster sugar and 100 millilitres water to the boil then remove the pan from the heat and allow the sugar syrup to cool completely. Line dehydrator trays with plastic wrap.
17 Immerse the mint leaves in the cooled sugar syrup then lay each one flat, top side up, on the trays.
18 Dry in a food dehydrator at 50°C for 12 hours, or until dried and crisp. Remove the mint leaves from the trays using an off set palette knife and store in an airtight container with silica gel beads until required.
19 To make the eucalyptus caramel, blend 50 grams Fisherman’s Friends (Original Flavour, eucalyptus) in a spice grinder until pulverised to a powder. Mix the powder with 90 millilitres hot water to dissolve the powder.
20 Cook 180 grams caster sugar to a dark caramel then add the eucalyptus water. Measure the total weight of the finished caramel when cool and add 1 per cent Kappa (Texturas). Bring to the boil, whisking constantly.
21 Pour into a small gastronorm tray and allow to set firm in the refrigerator. Transfer to a blender and purée to form a smooth gel, adding a splash of water if needed. Pass through a chinoise and store in a squeeze bottle.
22 Place 100 grams caster sugar and 20 millilitres water in a heavy-based rondeau and bring to a light caramel.
23 Add 50 grams feuilletine flakes and stir to combine quickly. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the flakes are covered in a fine caramel.
24 Pour onto a tray and allow to cool. Briefly pulse in a food processor until the flakes are reduced to about half their original size. Store in an airtight container with silica gel beads.
25 Make the chocolate sauce, bring 30 millilitres milk, 70 millilitres pouring cream and 30 grams glucose to the boil. Pour over 150 grams 70 per cent-minimum-cacao chocolate in a bowl.
26 Whisk to combine. Once it is smooth and completely combined, slowly add 60 millilitres water, whisking so that it emulsifies. Store until required.
To serve, spread a little chocolate sauce on each plate.
27 Place a block of mousse on top then add a small pile of feuilletine. Add a couple of mint leaves and a scoop of coconut sorbet.
28 Refresh the small frozen pieces of mousse with a splash of nitrogen and add to the plate. Add some drops of eucalyptus caramel to finish.
Recipe courtesy of Mark Best, extracted from Marque. Photography by Stuart Scott.