Hello, dear neighbors. To celebrate Easter, even in confinement, this year we are going to have a chocolaty dessert in the form of “verrines” (explanation of the word “verrines” here)
Like trifles, verrines have several layers; these are composed of a crumble at the bottom, a chocolate mousse and a pear mousse topped with slivered almonds. Most of the work is prepared ahead of time, up to two days, so that I can be more relaxed on Easter Sunday. Because of my husband’s high intolerance to preservatives, everything here is homemade, but if you are not in the same situation feel free to use shortcuts: crushed cookies for the crumble, store-bought chocolate mousse, and canned fruit to speed up the pear mousse making process. Also note that this dessert can be completely vegan, provided you have enough chick pea water (fresh or frozen) to play with.
Ingredients for 6 verrines – please note that all photos were taken with half the amounts
FOR THE PEAR MOUSSE:
– 4 or 5 Bartlett or Winter Nelis pears, depending on size
– 100 ml aquafaba (cooked chick pea water)
– 2 tsp homemade icing sugar (= cane sugar run through a coffee grinder)
– ¾ tsp agar powder
– optional: a little ginger powder to give the pear mousse a little more “oomph”
FOR THE CRUMBLE :
– 10g sorghum flour
– 15 g oats, ground and gluten-free (“oat flour”)
– 20g almond meal
– 20g pure cane sugar
– 20 à 25g shortening (margarine – mixed in with a little ghee butter if you like)
FOR THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:
– 200g very dark chocolate (mine was organic and had a 71 % cocoa ratio)
– a little strong coffee OR a little rum
– ½ TBSP shortening (non hydrogenated margarine)
– 2 egg whites* OR 100 ml aquafaba (cooked chick pea water)
FOR THE FINAL TOUCH :
– a few almonds, slivered and lightly toasted
– some small chocolate chunks
*If you choose the egg white option, you can make a lemon flavored silky custard (what we call “crème anglaise”) with the remaining egg yolks. Pouring it over the verrines at the last minute will make this dessert even more indulging!
ONE OR TWO DAYS AHEAD:
(cooking the pears for the mousse)
Steam or cook 4 or 5 peeled pears in a pot with a little water. Dice about one third of the cooked fruit and puree the rest. Set aside separately in the refrigerator.
THE DAY BEFORE:
(making the crumble)
Combine 10g sorghum flour + 15g oat flour + 20g almond meal + 20g cane sugar. Add 20 to 25g shortening and “pinch” between your fingers until until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Bake between 10 to 15 minutes at 200°C / 390°F and reserve at room temperature.
(making the chocolate mousse)
Beat 2 egg whites OR 100ml chick pea water until stiff peaks are formed.
Melt 200g dark chocolate with ½ TBSP margarine on low over a double-boiler. Stir and add some coffee or rum if / when the mixture seems to get dry. Remove from heat and gradually fold in the beaten egg whites or chick pea fluff*. Leave to set in the refrigerator. (I have been using this recipe for ages, except that here I halve the amount of egg whites in order to get a firmer mousse.)
*Those with a sweet tooth can make a crème anglaise to use the remaining egg yolk, skipping the vanilla and adding grated lemon zest to the egg + sugar mixture. If you are looking for a dairy-free recipe, there is one here, which I haven’t tried, but it’s from Irena, I feel pretty confident that it will work!
ON THE DAY OF, UP TO AN HOUR BEFORE MEAL TIME:
(finishing the pear mousse)
Beat 100ml chick pea water until peaks form, adding 2 tsp icing sugar towards the end. It will take a little longer than beating regular egg whites.
Heat 200ml pureed pear on low with ¾ tsp agar powder, optionally adding some ginger powder. Stir, especially when the mixture starts boiling. Turn off the heat after one minute of boiling, immediately fold in the chick pea “meringue”, and finally add the diced pear.
Please note: when I made this recipe in order to take photos for the blog, I forgot to add in the diced fruit 🙄. As we ate the dessert, I realized that the pear mousse on its own tasted a little bland – hence the idea of adding some ginger, which pairs well with chocolate anyway. However, it was too late for me to do so. But as I had also made some lemony “crème anglaise” with the unused egg yolk we decided to pour it over the verrine… Heavenly!
(assembling the verrines)
Layer the crumble at the bottom of each verrine container and top it with a little chocolate mousse. Microwave for a few seconds in order to soften the mousse and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Add the pear mousse and leave to set in the fridge.
At serving time, top with slivered almonds and chocolate chunks or chips. Don’t forget to pour some “crème anglaise’” if you have any!
We usually celebrate Easter with our family. But this year everyone is staying home! Still, we have decided that we should have a special meal, if only to preserve a semblance of normalcy in our life. As a matter of fact, after nearly four weeks of wearing boring sweat pants and old tee-shirts, we are also planning to don nicer clothes than usual, for our scheduled Skype gathering!
I hope your morale is fine, dear neighbors, and that you still want to cook delicious things for yourselves and the people around you in spite of the circumstances. Staying home is definitely no fun when the sun is calling you outside, but there aren’t very many options right now if we want to slow down the spread of this horrible virus… Which leads me to one last thing I want to share, an item from the 2020 Dior spring collection:
Stay safe everyone!