Petit Pots Au Chocolat Recipe
There is nothing particularly new about chocolate infused with spice. There are so many different combinations for spice lovers to savour, from chilli and chocolate to chocolate and cardamom -even Bombay mix has been blended with the stuff. A Chaat! curry magazine with an array of ideas.
Despite the seemingly endless boundaries when it comes to brewing up spicy, ‘chocolatey’ mixtures, I was still surprised to hear of a recipe involving chocolate and Juniper berries. The Juniper berry is perhaps best known for their flavouring in gin and other spirits, and also for complementing several strongly flavoured meat-based dishes. I wondered about the suitability of the berries infused with the smooth, sweet and creamy taste of chocolate, given that their taste is slightly sour and peppery in nature.
Unusually for a spice of this kind, the Juniper berry is indigenous of Northern Europe, growing on an evergreen, shrub-like plant. When crushed, these small dark purple berries are fragrant with an almost bitter-sweet aroma, and give any dish a subtle yet piquant flavour. When I say any dish, I would normally mean something along the lines of German sauerkraut or roast venison!
But to my surprise, the taste of the berries in a chocolate mixture was actually delicious. They came crushed and blended in a chocolate mousse dessert where only 5 berries were actually used. This was just enough to avoid an overpowering bittersweet and peppery taste. Although only subtle, the essence of the Juniper berries was certainly distinctive and made the dessert truly unique in flavour.
Unlike the acquired taste of chilli and chocolate, the Juniper berry infusion can be enjoyed by anyone. The sweetness of the chocolate is neither matched nor overpowered by the juniper seasoning, meaning loyal chocoholics are still likely to enjoy it. The light and fluffy texture of the mousse is also perfect for different and distinctive, sweet and spicy blends.
The Juniper berry chocolate mousse dessert has been named ‘Petit pots au Chocolat’ and is extremely easy to make. Take a look at the recipe; it is certainly worth having a go.
WORDS BY MEGAN EVANS
175 ml cream
5 juniper berries
2 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
50g dark chocolate
cocoa powder to dust
cream – whipped for topping (if required)
- Heat the oven to 140oC/Gas
- In a heavy based saucepan bring the cream with the juniper berries almost to a simmer then take off the heat, cover and leave to infuse
- Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar
- Strain the juniper berries out of the cream and add the chocolate stirring until it has melted
- Pour the cream and chocolate mixture onto the cream and egg mix whisking constantly
- Pour into small ramekin dishes. Stand in a roasting tray, pour water half way up and pop into the oven for 30-40 minutes until set but soft in the centre
- Serve at room temperature dusted with cocoa and/or a little whipped cream
Recipe courtesy of Julie Brooks of Food 4 The Journey: www.food4thejourney.co.uk