Years ago, I worked in a restaurant that served Grand Marnier mousse in fancy crystal dishes, topped with a tiny butter cookie. Light, orangey, and delicious, it was one of my favorite desserts next to the strawberry pie.
A few weeks ago when I found dark chocolate cups in the grocery store, all I could think of was filling them with that mousse. For the longest time I was never that fond of chocolate and orange flavors together, but in recent years I've grown to love them. I scoured the internets for a good mousse recipe, did a little testing, and I think I've found it just in time for our New Year's Eve dinner.
A tip here: use the very BEST whipping cream and chocolate you can find. I used Avalon Dairies Organic whipping cream and Green and Black's white chocolate.
Adapted from Emeril Live, Food Network Canada
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp grated orange zest
2 cups whipped cream (unsweetened)..about 1 3/4 cup unwhipped
2 bars of Green and Blacks White Chocolate (or, 1/2 cup)
In a stainless steel bowl over simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks, Grand Marnier, sugar, and orange zest. Stand and whisk constantly while it heats and cooks, occasionally taking the bowl off and away from the boiling water if it's getting too hot.
What you should have happen is the egg yolks and other ingredients come together and become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. What you don't want is scrambled eggs, so hence the constant watch and stirring. The original recipe said it should take 4-5 minutes and the water should be boiling, but I found the water too hot and mine was finished in about 3 minutes. Use your judgment. The consistency was about that of melted chocolate.
Take the bowl off the heat and set aside to cool.
Whip the cream. You need about 2 cups of it whipped, so I'm guessing 1 3/4 cup before you start whipping it would be good. Don't add anything to it-you need the whipped cream to be plain.
Meanwhile, also start melting your chocolate. I do this directly on the stove over low heat in a saucepan, but you can use your microwave, a double boiler, etc. Let it cool. (Important! You don't want a warm chocolate wrecking the whipped cream)
Once your egg yolk mixture (also known as sabayon) is cool, fold in the whipped cream, and then the cooled chocolate.
At this point I spooned the mousse into chocolate cups and let them chill in the fridge for 5 hours, before serving topped with shaved white chocolate, and fresh berries. When I halved the recipe it filled 7 cups, generously.