Confession: I’m not Irish, not even a little bit.
I’m 100% Italian, and my parents were actually neighbours (in a 4K people village), so I have pretty much the dullest ancestry ever.
Nevertheless, I strive to celebrate St. Patrick’s day religiously—for no reason other than I love Guinness and wearing brightly-coloured clothes (fact: life is better when you take the rainbow with you wherever you go—sorry total-black devotees). March 17th gives me the perfect chance to do both, and it’s a chance I’ll take every time.
As a beer lover, I enjoy incorporating it in recipes to give them a bit of extra flavour—at least on the rare occasions I manage not to finish the bottle before reaching the point in the recipe that would call for it.
Guinness has a complex and rich taste, and it works well in a number of pairings—both sweet and savoury. Personally, my favourite is definitely Guinness and chocolate (confession #2: I am also an irredeemable chocolate-addict), and over the years I’ve perfected two dessert recipes based on this match made in heaven. Today, I share with you one of them: my very own (and very decadent) Guinness + Chocolate mousse.
I adapted the chocolate mousse from an Italian website but I skipped a few ingredients, partly because I’m not too keen on adding cream to chocolate when melting it, and partly because it is an entirely different recipe for chilli chocolate mousse (which I have yet to find the courage to try).
The Guinness gives the mousse an even softer and vaguely bubbly texture, but the real star is the heavenly aroma, which enhances the already wonderful smell of chocolate. As far as taste goes, the stout leaves more of a slightly bitter aftertaste. If you’re a little skeptical, reduce the quantity and pour cautiously, stopping to try a little before proceeding. Bear in mind that the recipe calls for Guinness halfway through, so the final result will be a little different.
Here it goes, darlings. Slàinte!
Ingredients for two servings:
7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate*, roughly chopped into chunks
2 eggs (make sure they’re extra-fresh as this is uncooked!)
¼ cup brown sugar (the finer the better, as you won’t feel the grains—Muscovado is a good option)
½ pint Guinness Stout
pinch of salt
*Bittersweet chocolate works best, but you can substitute sweeter options if you prefer. I usually keep a 70/30 ratio of dark/sweet chocolate—but that’s just me.
Put the chocolate chunks in a microwave-proof bowl and heat for a few minutes until the chocolate has melted—you can stir with a fork to make sure there are no bits left. Adding a little bit of milk or butter will make the mixture creamier, but it will also make the mousse heavier (so don’t overdo it!).
Finding the right microwave setting can be tricky, so try proceeding by intervals: Heat for 30 seconds or 1 minute, then pause and stir. Don’t worry if you end up overheating the chocolate—just leave it to cool down a bit before you move on to the next step.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks, and keep the formers in a separate bowl, while adding the yellow parts to the molten chocolate. Set the whites aside and work on the chocolate mixture first. Beat the yolks into the chocolate until you reach a creamy texture, and the two are perfectly mixed.
Time to open the bottle! Get the Guinness, but don’t pour it all in one go; it’s better to work it in a little at a time, and mix it delicately in. If you prefer a more delicate taste, stop every once in awhile and sample what you’re making to make sure you like it. Also, allow yourself a reward in the shape of a sip—working with chocolate and not finishing it before you’ve reached the last step of the recipe is hard work!
Now go back to the whites, add a pinch of salt, and start whisking—you can do this by hand, or speed the process up with an electric mixer. As you do this, slowly add the sugar to the mix.
The whites will need to be beaten until stiff: it’s a simple process, but a delicate one too. You’ll be able to tell when you’ve reached the right texture because peaks will form on the surface as you move the mixer blades around, and they’ll hold in place and not fall.
To make the whisking easier, make sure both the bowl and the mixer blades are perfectly clean and dry before you start: Traces of yolk or fatty substances can keep the egg whites from reaching a perfect foamy texture. Using a glass or stainless steel container helps too.
Once this is done, you’ll need to incorporate the two mixtures. Do this delicately and using upwards movements to let air into the mix—this will ensure the mousse stays soft.
Congratulations, you’ve made it! Now comes the hardest part: letting the mousse cool down in the fridge for at least two hours to solidify. But fear not: your patience will be rewarded!
Remove from the fridge right before serving, and enjoy!
You can easily turn this into a more elaborate dessert by adding some simple toppings: Whipped cream is great for decoration too, as your mousse will look exactly like a miniature pint. If you fancy adding some crunch, keep a bowl of biscuits crumbs or cereal on hand (Rice Krispies are ideal for this), and add a spoonful on top of the mousse immediately before serving.
The ultimate treat? Sponge fingers. You can dip them in a bit of Guinness and use them as base, Tiramisu-style.
Her talents include building piles of books to read that are taller than actual furniture, transforming money into flight tickets, getting emotionally invested in every sport she watches, and making eye-contact with the most awkward person in a room, at the most inconvenient time.
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