four hundred and twenty

Silvia’s Chocolate Mousse With Whiskey-Soaked Prunes

Recipe, words & photography by Harriet Davidson

I first met Silvia, a dear family friend, living in Port Moresby as a child - a wonderful woman, and a wonderfully inspiring cook. My family would wander down the road for dinner where we’d walk in her door and she’d take us kids over to her fridge, open the door and reveal a large glass bowl holding this chocolate mousse. After a dinner of sauerkraut and sausages, we’d devour the silky, velvety dessert.

A few years ago when I was visiting Silvia in her summer house in Cascais, Portugal, I wrote her recipe for this dessert down, along with at least four bacalhau dishes and a delicious octopus and potato stew, but we’ll save those for another day. It feels like a time the world could use a bit of sweetness, a bit of comfort, so I bring you the recipe of this easy as anything, a little naughty, dessert.

The perfect dessert for lockdown days with only four ingredients, it’s packed with pleasure and moments of joy as you scoop through its velvety texture and let it melt in your mouth. It’s light and fluffy but beautifully lush. Use the best quality dark chocolate (the 70 per cent Lindt is great) and butter you can forage.

I admit, I’m a bit of a prune addict, perhaps having grown up with my Father’s stewed rhubarb, apple and prunes. The addition of these whiskey-soaked prunes add another layer of warmth and makes the dessert feel a little more luxe, because we can use all the luxe we can get at the moment. But, if there are no prunes in your pantry and you’ve finished the whiskey, the choc mousse is perfect just as is, perhaps with a little drizzle of olive oil and definitely a sprinkle of sea salt.

I hope this recipe sweetens your night’s in and brings a smile as big as the one it’s been bringing me since I was 10 years old.

A few years ago when I was visiting Silvia in her summer house in Cascais, Portugal, I wrote her recipe for this dessert down.

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate (70 per cent is my go-to) 200g unsalted butter, softened
200g castor sugar 6 eggs

Whiskey Soaked Prunes

1/2 cup prunes (about 15) 1/2 cup water water
30ml whiskey Orange rind

To Serve

Olive oil Sea salt

METHOD

For the mousse, start by separating the egg yolks and egg whites, placing the egg whites in a mixer bowl and reserving the egg yolks in a separate bowl. Beat the egg whites until they’re firm and set aside.

Clean the mixer bowl and add in sugar and egg yolks. Beat until creamed - this could take a few minutes. Add in softened butter and beat again to combine well.

Bring a pot of water to a simmer and place a heat-proof bowl over the water (a stainless steel number is perfect here). Add in the chocolate and one tablespoon of the butter. Leave to let melt, stirring occasionally. Once the chocolate has completely melted, add it into the butter-sugar mixture. Beat for a minute to combine.

Add in the whipped egg whites using a spatula, mixing softly so as to keep the mixture as light and fluffy as possible. Mix until the egg whites are completely incorporated into the chocolate mixture.

Place in a bowl, or into individual bowls if you’d like to serve it that way, and pop in the fridge. It will need at least three hours to set.

White the mousse is setting, place all the prune ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn down and cover for 20 minutes to let the flavours meld. Turn off and keep covered until you’re ready to serve the mousse. These will keep in a jar and are a lovely treat to have.

To serve, scoop the chocolate mousse onto plates, top with prunes, sprinkle with a little sea salt and give it all a drizzle of olive oil, just to add that extra bit of lush.

Harriet uses our IN BED 100% linen napkins in white, placemats in white and blue & white stripe and 100% linen teatowel in french blue.