A Chocolate Delice fit for Cupid

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate.” 

Thornton Wilder

I was lucky enough to go on one of the fabulous courses at The Woodspeen Restaurant. This particular course was one aimed to produce a take-away Valentine’s dinner, and it did all participants proud (see Wonders at the Woodspeen).

This Chocolate Delice, devised by chef Peter Eaton, certainly lived up to its name, and it was the miso caramel sauce which really raised this pud to another level.

The big advantage of this is that the delice doesn’t have much water content so even if you freeze it (it freezes well, but you will need three layers of cling film) it doesn’t freeze solid – it’s always ready to serve, just cut your slices with a warm knife.

You can make the frosted hazelnuts ahead of time – a few days, stored in a dry Kilner jar. Instead of hazelnuts you could use cashew or macadamia nuts (but not walnuts, which contain too much oil and won’t crystallise – if you want to use walnuts or pecans, go to Jessi’s Crystal-dusted Christmas Nuts.)

You could add instant coffee (in which case it would freeze solid), or orange slices.

chocolate delice recipe
A chocolate delice fit for Cupid

Recipe for A Chocolate Delice fit for Cupid

Serves 8

Ingredients for the delice

  • 600g/1 lb 5 oz Callebaut Recipe No 811 chocolate (this is a fantastic all-round 54.5% cocoa blend of Belgian chocolate recommended by Peter Eaton, but any good quality 70% + plain chocolate would do) 
  • 12 yolks
  • 250g/9 oz/2 cups golden caster sugar
  • 60ml/4 tbsps/¼ cup water
  • 720ml/3 cups double cream
  • 8 leaves of gelatine
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients for the glaze

  • 160 ml/⅔ cup single cream
  • 200g/7 oz dark chocolate
  • 50g/2 oz butter

Ingredients for the miso caramel sauce

  • 125g/4 oz/1 cup golden caster sugar
  • 12g/about 2 tsps liquid glucose (also known as corn syrup)
  • 20ml/5 tsps water
  • 75g/3 oz butter
  • 120 ml/½ cup double cream
  • 10g/about 2 tsps miso paste

Ingredients for the frosted hazelnuts

  • 100g/⅔ cup hazelnuts (ready-roasted, or dry-fried, or roast yourself for 20 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 150ºC)
  • 125g/4 oz/1 cup golden caster sugar
  • 80ml/⅓ cup water
  • 2 tsps salt (you need the salt to help reconstitute the sugar)
chocolate delice recipe
The frosted hazelnuts – they go sort of snowy…

Method – delice

  1. First of all make the delice. Soak the gelatine leaves for about five minutes or so in cold water.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie. Or you can simply put it in a glass mixing bowl and put it in a very cool oven – 55ºC (that’s the warming oven for four-door Aga owners).
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk the yolks (use an electric mixer) until lighter, frothier and about twice the volume.
  4. In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the water and cook until large bubbles start to form. Just for a few seconds. Don’t let it go hard! Then pour it into the middle of the egg yolks you are whisking. DON’T let it go down the side of the bowl or it will start to set before it even reaches the yolk mixture.
  5. Then, while the mixture is still warm, squeeze the water out of the gelatine and add so that it will dissolve and spread out evenly.
  6. While the egg yolk mix begins to cool whip the cream loosely, and then (before the mixture cools completely and starts to set) fold into the yolk mixture. Add a pinch of salt. Pour the lot into the mould.
  7. Bang it on the worktop to get the air bubbles out and put into the fridge to set.

Method – glaze

  1. Bring the cream to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  2. Put the chocolate and butter, broken up into a small mixing bowl. Pour the boiling cream over.
  3. Stir to dissolve and then cover the set delice. Return to the fridge.

Method – caramel miso sauce

  1. Mix the sugar, water and glucose together over a high heat – it needs to reach 152ºC. If you aren’t working in a professional kitchen and don’t happen to have a thermometer to hand, it should just be turning to caramel.
  2. Whisk in the cream, bring back to the boil, whisking all the time to stop it catching on the base of the pan.
  3. Add the butter and miso. Mix in well. Then allow to cool.
  4. Pipe it onto the delice for a professional look.

Method – frosted hazelnuts

  1. In a frying pan with high sides heat the water, salt and sugar. Don’t let the sugar go up the sides of the pan or it will begin to crystallise.
  2. Reduce the liquid to a syrup, but don’t let it caramelise.
  3. Add the nuts and stir to cover. When the sugar starts to crystallise, empty them onto a flat metal tray to cool. As you can see from the photograph, they go sort of snowy.
chocolate delice recipe
Making the caramel miso sauce.

For what to do with the egg whites go to Raspberry Nearly-Massive Magnificent Mountainous Meringues.

For other ways to make a caramel sauce go to Three Improper Caramel Sauces.

chocolate delice recipe

Music to cook to

Daniel Hope plays Kreisler’s Liebesleid (love sickness)