It is often said that whatever else you make for a dinner party, the one thing your guests will be sure to remember is the dessert. So of course, my dinner party dessert had to be something just out of this world!! I am known for baking a lot, which I do, but this time I wanted to do something different from my usual cake or cupcakes. Mousse makes a perfect summer dessert, cool and refreshing. When I came across this recipe by Giada de Laurentis( http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/mascarpone-and-dark-chocolate-cream-in-white-chocolate-cups-recipe/index.html) , I knew this would be just perfect. Not only was her mousse simple to make, but it also did not contatin raw eggs, which I did not want to serve to my guests. To top it all off, Giada served her mousse in individual white chocolate cups rather than ordinary glass dishes. Now if that doesn't impress, I don't know what will! The hardest part of this dessert was coating the paper liners with white chocolate. I used a lot more white chocolate than the recipe called for, but a heavy first coat makes the cups much easier to pull away from the paper liners.
I don't think I need to say this, but this dessert was absolutely worth every second I put into it. Boy, was it decadent! It was just as delectable as I had expected. I would definitely make this mousse again. So easy, but so tasty!
Chocolate Mascarpone Cream in White Chocolate Cups:
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped( I used 11 oz. white chocolate chips)
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped(I used chips)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 tsp. grated orange peel(I left this out)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract(I increased this to 1/2 tsp. because I love vanilla flavor)
Line 8 mufins cups with paper liners. Melt white chocolate. The original recipe called for a double boiler, but it worked just fine for me in the microwave at 50% power, sitrring every 30 seconds for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Spoon about 1 tablespoon(I did about 2) melted chocolate into each paper liner. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the bottom and sides of each liner.
Freeze for about 30 minutes, until the chocolate coat is firm. Remelt the remaining white chocolate. Spoon 1 tablespoon into each cup and brush over the bottom and sides of each cup. Freeze until completely set, at least 1 hour( I waited about 2 hours and the paper liners peeled away very easily). I found that the chocolate would soften quite easily due to the summer heat, so I took only 2 cups out at a time and put them back in the freezer before taking any more out.
Melt the semisweet chocolate until smooth in the top of a double boiler(I used my microwave again at 50% power). Then, let it cool completely. Beat the cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form( Chilling the bowl and beaters speeds up the whipping process). Set aside.
Beat the mascarpone cheese, melted chocolate, orange peel(is using) and vanilla extract in a large bowl , using an electric mixer, until smooth and glossy, about 30 seconds.
Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in 2 batches.
Transfer the mousse fto a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (I put it in a ziploc bag and cut off one corner to make my own pastry bag). Pipe the mousse into the prepared white chocolate cups.
I topped each cup with a chocolate-dipped strawberry. Just melt an extra 3-4 oz. semisweet chocolate and use that to dip the strwberries, if you so desire. Make sure the strawberries aren't too big. Mine were very large, and they kept foalling off the top. Doesn't that look stunning? :)
Serve right away, or refrigerate. Let them sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before serving (I found half an hour to be more then enough given the summer heat). This is certainly a rich dessert, but if you're like me, you'll have no trouble at all finishing an entire cup :) Sit back and savor every bite of this culinary masterpiece!