I wanted to make little espresso mousses served in espresso cups, but I wanted them to look like real espressos, so knew they would need to be incredibly dark with a wet-look top. I decided that a coffee liqueur jelly top would give the required wet effect, but it wouldn't be dark enough to be really convincing. I decided that a crisp-thin layer of dark chocolate in between the mousse and jelly would do the trick and would also provide a pleasing contrast of textures.
1 quantity of chilled creme anglais
1 small tub (330 ml) double cream
4 leaves of gelatine
4-6 tsp instant espresso
2 tbsp boiling water.
1 egg white, whisked with a pinch of salt to the soft peak stage (optional)
Soak the gelatine in cold water for ten minutes until soft and squidgy. Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water and stir in the gelatine until it has completely melted. Stir the coffee mixture into the creme anglaise and taste to ensure you have the right strength of espresso, adding more if needed. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream and fold into the coffee custard. For a lighter mousse, fold in the whisked egg white until fully incorporated. Spoon the mixture into espresso cups about 3/4 of the way full and pop in the fridge for an hour to set.
Melt 100g/ 4oz good quality dark chocolate in a bain marie. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly and drip a teaspoonful on top of each mousse, swirling it around so the top of each is fully covered. Pop them all back in the fridge to set.
Coffee liqueur jelly
4 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
200 ml coffee liqueur