Prep time:

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total time:

Serves: 6

For the mousse:

150g dark chocolate

30g caster sugar

2 large eggs separated – caution, this recipe does contain raw eggs

1tbsp rum

250ml fresh cream

For the rose & lemon shortbread hearts

100g unsalted butter

50g caster sugar

1 lemon zest

2tsp rose water (it can vary in intensity, so add just a little at a time)

1tsp vanilla extract

caster sugar

50g semolina

100g plain flour

This is a very rich, creamy chocolate mousse and utterly delicious, but you only need a small portion. I have served in tiny vintage coffee cups that belonged to my grandmother, alongside a crisp shortbread. She always used to make us the most perfect shortbread when we arrived to visit. I love the addition of the rose and lemon, but they are delightfully simply with vanilla too. These can all be made the day before if you wish.

For the mousse:

Makes 6 mini cups (but can be doubled easily)

  1. Melt the chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water.
  2. Beat the eggs whites until stiff, then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
  3. When the chocolate has melted and cooled slightly, beat in the egg yolks. Then stir this mix into the egg whites, carefully. It will feel very stiff.
  4. Add the cream, a bit at a time, to create a smooth mix – approx 250ml, it may be more, and stir in the rum.
  5. Put into your desired serving dish. Whip the remaining cream and top it. Grate over a little chocolate if you wish.
  6. Chill until ready to serve.

For the rose & lemon shortbread hearts:

These little hearts are so delicate, light and crisp. The hint of rose and lemon makes them a little bit different. I use a third semolina flour for extra crispness, but you could use just plain or rice flour. When I roll my dough mix it does seem to crack, but I just squidge back together. And if you don’t have a heart cutter, any shape will still taste delicious.

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon zest, rose water and vanilla in a large bowl for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  2. Scrape the bowl down and add the flour and semolina and a pinch of salt, mixing together briefly until it starts to come together as a dough. Bring together into a ball using your hands.
  3. Put the dough on a flour board. Flour the rolling pin, flatten the dough with your hands, then roll out to 1-2cm thick.
  4. Line a baking tray with non-stick parchment. Using a heart cutter, cut out the shortbread and put on the baking sheet. Re-roll any dough left over and cut some more hearts. If you can, chill for about 30 minutes before cutting.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170˚C, gas mark 3. Cook in the oven for about 10 mins until golden at the edges. If you want, take out at 8 minutes, sprinkle with some caster sugar and put back in the oven.
  6. Put on a cooling rack, and allow to crisp before storing in an airtight tin.

Charlotte is a caterer in Kent and is available for lunches, dinners, parties and buffets. She also teaches cookery workshops and private lessons. For more information, email or follow her on Instagram & Facebook @theneedy.greedy

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