This is a special occasion desert. Nothing short of sinful. Completely decadent. Rich beyond measure. Need I say more. I love the combination of chocolate and orange! This Chocolate Orange Mousse is perfect. It was a great deal of work, tedious and time consuming. All said and done, a half day, nothing short of that. I did take over an hour peeling and trimming the Mandarin oranges so that they were pristine. Was it worth it, yes! the Mandarin pieces were stunning! Tina was so impressed she now wants "these in her lunches".
Chocolate Orange Mousse
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
12 tablespoons butter, room temp
8 extra large eggs, separated and at room temp
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup cold cream, plus more for whipping to garnish
Mandarin oranges, peeled and trimmed for garnish
Combine the chocolate, Grand Marnier, 1/4 cup water and vanilla in a double boiler over simmering water, stir until the chocolate melts. Whisk in the orange zest and butter until combined. Cool completely.
Place egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high for 4 minutes, or until thick and pale yellow. With the mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture. Transfer to a large bowl.
Place 1 cup of egg whites, the salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high until firm. Whisk half the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, the fold the rest in carefully with a rubber spatula.
Without cleaning the bowl or the whisk, whip the cream and remaining tablespoon of sugar until firm. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Pout eh mouse into individual dishes or an 8 cup serving bowl. Chill and garnish with additional whipped cream, orange zest and Mandarin Orange slices. Drizzle with blood orange syrup if you are lucky enough to have some.
Tips: I might skip the adding the orange zest directly into the mousse, it didn't add much and it interfered with the smooth texture of the mousse. I served 3/4 cup servings and it was way too much for people. While everyone ate most of their serving it was simply too much! You could get away with a scant half cup or even less. Next time I am going to try an cut the recipe in half. Eggs are easier to separate if they are cold. I have blood orange syrup from Olive Pond Vineyard in California but it would be easy to make with juice from a blood orange and sugar, a thick simple syrup.