Let me first say this Chocolate Mousse with Puff Pastry Hearts is NOT a recipe to enjoy often. It’s a splurge. And Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to splurge in my book.
I have to thank Kylie Simpson, formerly of Out Back Kitchen in Avon, North Carolina, for this chocolate mousse recipe. She gave it to me years ago after she was tasked with catering a wedding for a bride with diabetes. Kylie told me she made it with Splenda®, but said you could also use brown rice syrup. I had never heard of brown rice syrup before and knew I wouldn’t be able to find it locally at the time, but I tucked the recipe away.
Now I live in a bigger city and I can find brown rice syrup anytime I want. It has the consistency of honey and about the same amount of calories and carbs, but it has a lower glycemic index. That means it raises blood sugar more slowly than honey does. But let’s be clear: brown rice syrup is pretty much pure glucose and shouldn’t be eaten any more frequently than sugar, honey, maple syrup, or any other type of sweetener.
I don’t eat sweets that often but, when I do, I prefer not to use artificial sweeteners. I don’t think they signal your brain you’ve eaten something sweet, so you continue to crave sugar. I’d much rather have some of this chocolate mousse once a year on Valentine’s Day and avoid added sugar the rest of the year. Well, except maybe on my birthday. And my anniversary. And Thanksgiving. And Christmas. The point is, I don’t eat sweets every day or even every week. I save them for special occasions and use real sweeteners. Your mileage may vary.
This chocolate mousse is dark and rich, very chocolatey but not overly sweet. If the chocolate flavor is too much for you, a little bit of whipped cream will lessen the intensity. I think dark chocolate aficionados will like the mousse, but milk chocolate fans may not think it’s sweet enough.
Time-saving tip: Buy prepared chocolate pudding or mousse (regular, sugar-free, or fat-free according to your needs) and just make the puff pastry hearts.
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, cognac, or brandy
- 1 egg
- ½ cup brown rice syrup
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of a 17 ounce box), thawed
- 1 egg, beaten
- whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- Heat milk in saucepan over medium-low heat until you see steam. Turn off heat, add chocolate (do not stir), cover, and let sit for about 2 minutes or until chocolate melts. Stir until chocolate is thoroughly incorporated into milk. Set aside.
- In a small custard cup, whisk cornstarch and liqueur together. (If you don't have a tiny whisk, put them in a small container with a lid and shake vigorously.) In a medium bowl, combine egg, brown rice syrup, and cornstarch mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate mixture to temper the eggs and mix well.
- Add egg mixture to remaining chocolate mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- If you want a creamier texture, transfer mixture to food processor or blender (cap off since mixture is hot) and pulse for 20 seconds or so.
- Place mousse in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto the surface (to keep skin from forming). Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- While mousse is chilling, make the puff pastry hearts. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll puff pastry to smooth it out. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out at least 6 hearts. Place on prepared baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Freeze until firm, about 5 minutes.
- Bake hearts until puffed and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool.
- Divide mousse among 6 ramekins or custard cups.
- Top each with a puff pastry heart and whipped cream, if desired.
Time-saving tip: Buy prepared chocolate pudding or mousse (regular or sugar-free or fat-free) and just make the puff pastry hearts.