Time for chocolate
CHRISTMAS DESSERTS:Wow your guests with these elegant desserts that can be prepared in advance, writes EUNICE POWER
The house is now dressed for Christmas, the only time of the year it looks remotely respectable – for a few days at least. So, while the tree is showing no signs of fatigue, the fairy lights are still working, the door wreath is fresh, candles arranged on every available surface and my over-mantle arrangements are at their peak, I see a three-day window in which I can entertain some friends. Plans for a dinner party are afoot.
The menu is planned with considerable thought being invested in the dessert. I want to stay away from traditional Christmassy fare. I have just completed the marathon Christmas baking session, where I have been submerged in brandy, spices and dried fruit for weeks, consequently I decide that it’s time for chocolate. And so I juggle ideas, finally arriving at these two decadent desserts.
I bought the edible rose petals for the jellies from Blásta Wholefoods in Dungarvan, and health food shops may be the best place to find them.
WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH TURKISH DELIGHT JELLY
This pretty and delicate dessert takes a little time and patience, as you need to wait for the jelly to set. It’s a very simple recipe, with outstanding results in terms of flavour and presentation.
The white chocolate mousse recipe was given to me by Garrett Byrne of Campagne restaurant in Kilkenny, just as I was about to lose faith in the workability of white chocolate. I have made this dessert for large parties, when I served it in little votive glasses, or you could serve it in martini glasses. Makes six.
Turkish Delight jelly
1 dessert spoon rose water
A good pinch of citric acid (tip of a teaspoon)
2 leaves of gelatine
1 drop of red food colouring (and I mean a drop)
25g shelled pistachio nuts, chopped
1 dessert spoon of edible rose petals and some extra for decorating
White chocolate mousse
150g good quality white chocolate
300ml cream, whipped
First, make the jelly. Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of lukewarm water until they are soft (this should take about five minutes). Drain the water off the gelatine leaves and return them to the bowl.
Dissolve the sugar in the water over a gentle heat. Add the rose water, food colouring and citric acid and heat to simmering point. Pour the hot liquid over the gelatine and stir until the gelatine is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a jug.
Divide half the jelly between six glasses and refrigerate until set (this should take about an hour). When set, sprinkle chopped pistachio nuts and rose petals on the jelly. Pour the remainder of the jelly on top.
If the remaining jelly has set, reheat it gently to a pouring consistency. Return the jellies to the fridge and allow to set overnight.
To make the white chocolate mousse,melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Melt the butter and add this to the melted white chocolate. Allow this to cool a little, then fold the chocolate into the whipped cream. If you add the chocolate to the cream while it is still hot, the cream will split. Chill the mixture for an hour or so.