Layered chocolate mousse

These layered chocolate mousses make a lovely end to a dinner party of special meal. The chocolate mixture is piled on top of a rich ricotta and cream blend and dollops of black cherry jam for a rich, creamy dessert that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

Layered chocolate mousse
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

125g dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa)
125g milk chocolate
5 medium eggs separated
1 tbsp brandy
50g black cherry jam
1 x 250g tub ricotta drained
50g extra thick double cream
15g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Have ready a 20cm glass serving bowl (or alternatively use individual dishes, as in the picture). Gently melt the milk and dark chocolates in a large bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Allow to cool to room temperature. Working quickly, beat the egg yolks into the chocolate – the mixture will turn grainy – then rapidly beat in the brandy and a tablespoon of water when it will become smooth and glossy again.

2. In another large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff using an electric whisk. Fold two tablespoons into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold in the remainder of the eggs whites in two goes, as lightly as possible.

3. Spoon half the chocolate mousse into the serving bowl. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up a little. Spoon the jam on top of the mousse.

4. Whiz the ricotta, cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth in a food processor. Spoon this mixture over the jam, followed by the remaining chocolate mousse. Chill overnight until set, covering with clingfilm after a couple of hours.

FOR THE FINISHING TOUCH If wished, you can decorate your layered chocolate mousses with chocolate stars and sprinkles to serve.

Recipe by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.