There are days when all you want to do is eat peanut butter straight out of the jar for dessert, and then there are days when you're willing to pull out all the stops.
NOTE: Good quality store-bought ice cream is absolutely fine to use here. I have my own hens who lay the most fabulous eggs so I made my own. My girls would be mightily offended if I didn't take the opportunity to use their eggs in something other than an omelet.
Dark Chocolate Mousse with French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Caramel Puffed Rice
adapted from Delicious
For the French Vanilla Ice Cream:
slightly adapted from Food Network CA
250ml full cream milk
2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped (keep the pods)
9 egg yolks
2/3 cup caster sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
For the Caramel Puffed Rice:
100g caster sugar
50g puffed rice
200g white chocolate
For the Chocolate Mousse:
200g dark chocolate, chopped, plus an extra 50g melted for drizzling
4 eggs, separated
55g caster sugar
Make the Ice Cream:
Put the cream, milk and vanilla (both seeds and pods) into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it just starts to simmer. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavours to develop.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs yolks, sugar and salt together. Remove the vanilla pods from the cream mixture and start to incorporate a little of the cream mixture into the egg mixture. Keep adding a little at a time until it is fully incorporated. Pour all the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until it thickens. The mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon when it is done. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve and chill completely in the refrigerator.
Once completely cold, churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve soft immediately, or put it in the freezer to firm it up.
Make the Caramel Puffed Rice:
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the sugar in a saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of water. Heat over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for about 5-6 minutes, until you have a deep golden caramel. Working quickly, add the puffed rice and stir to combine then pour onto the prepared baking tray. Cover with an oiled piece of baking paper and press to flatten. I used another baking tray to flatten it. Set aside for 30 minutes to set.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, Don't let the bowl touch the water. Stir until smooth, then spread over the puffed rice and chill for 30 minutes. Once set, break into small pieces.
Make the Mousse:
Put the chopped chocolate into a heat proof bowl and set aside.
Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir to melt the chocolate. Whisk in the egg yolks and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen the batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites until combined. Chill for 3 hours until set.
Put a scoop of mousse and a scoop of ice cream into wide bowls. Scatter small pieces of the caramel puffed rice around the bowl and drizzle melted dark chocolate.