Postre Principe Alberto (Prince Albert’s dessert)
Tiny little pots of delicious nutty chocolate mousse with a surprise at the bottom of the cup. Apparently Prince Albert of Monaco is very fond of chocolate mousse. I mean, who isn’t? This dessert was created in his honour on a visit to the Canary Islands by Dona Matilda Arroyo of La Palma, the islands’ most famous chef and baker. It is served in many restaurants across the archipelago and is a real taste of the Canaries. The Moorish influence on Spanish cuisine is seen in the bitter coffee sponge combined with the smooth sweet mousse – it’s a delightful contrast and very simple to make and serve. You can of course use bought sponge biscuits or cake for the base, but naturally it’s nicest if made yourself.
Serves 6 Timings: 90 minutes and 2 hours to cool and set
100ml strong coffee, cooled
Roast the hazelnuts in a small frying pan until browning but not burned. Let them cool and crush them finely in a spice grinder. You want mostly a fine flour but keep some rougher nubbles aside for topping the mousse.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a flat baking tin – you are making a thin layer of sponge like a swiss roll not a full thick cake.
Make the sponge: whisk the eggs and sugar together until creamy and thick – about 5 minutes. Melt the butter and leave to cool a little. Add the flour to the eggs/sugar mixture a spoonful at a time and add in the coffee granules. Spoon the melted butter over the cake batter and mix in gently with a metal spoon. Spread the mixture out on the prepared tin, to only about 1cm thick and bake for about 10 minutes until cooked through. Cool on a wire rack and peel off the backing paper.
Make the mousse: whip the egg whites until stiff. Melt the chocolate over hot water while you whisk the egg yolks gently with the caster sugar. Scrape the melted chocolate into the egg yolks, mix well, then scrape the whole liquid mixture into the egg whites. Add the ground hazelnuts to the bowl and mix well with a metal spoon, being careful not to beat the mixture too hard and also being careful to mix in any liquid chocolate lurking at the bottom of the bowl. You will have a rather thick delicious chocolate mousse, with the hazelnuts adding a little firm texture.
Cut circles of the coffee sponge and place in the bottom of your crystal glasses or whatever you are serving the dessert in – traditionally a pretty glass to show off the layers. Soak each sponge layer in the strong cooled coffee. Add more rather than less, you want quite a well soaked sponge.
Scoop the chocolate mousse into a piping bag and pipe a thick layer of mousse into each glass on top of the coffee sponge. You can spoon it in of course, rather than use a piping bag but piping gives a neater finish.
Top each mousse with a sprinkle of roughly chopped hazelnuts.
Cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.