Recipe: Regina's Chocolate Mousse Torte With Orange-Scented Crème Anglaise

I like to make this in a 9-inch loaf pan. You can also make it in a bowl. It comes out of either nicely, and both are good presentations. You will need a double boiler and a hand mixer.

Serves 6

Ingredients for torte:
    • 2 three-ounce packages of ladyfingers
    • 2 tablespoons rum
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 cup water

Ingredients for chocolate mousse filling:
    • 8 ounces sweet dark chocolate
    •1 tablespoon strong coffee
    • 1/4 pound butter
    • 3 eggs (separated)
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Ingredients for orange crème anglaise:
    • 5 egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup cream
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 3 pieces orange peel

To make the mousse torte:

In a small saucepan, add rum and water and bring to a boil. Turn off and let cool to the touch. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with spray oil. Take ladyfingers and gently dip into rum syrup. Begin to line your pan with the rounded side of the ladyfingers down. The bottom and sides should be covered with ladyfingers. There can be slight gaps. You may have to cut some to do the best job. Reserve the syrup and ladyfingers to put a top on the chocolate mousse after you fill the mold.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate, coffee, and butter. Add grated orange zest. Put egg yolks and sugar into small bowl and mix on medium speed until yolks are pale yellow or ribbon stage. Add the yolk mixture to chocolate mixture and continue to cook. Stir frequently over medium heat in double boiler, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to another bowl. Let cool down for 10 minutes.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Gently fold in the egg whites (a rubber spatula is the essential tool when doing this). Fold gently—you want the air to stay in the whipped egg whites to make the mousse light. Pour chocolate mousse into mold. Dip ladyfingers into rum syrup and top the mousse to complete the mousse torte. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

To make the crème anglaise:

Put egg yolks and sugar into small bowl and mix on medium speed until yolks are pale yellow or ribbon stage. In double boiler, heat cream, milk, and orange peel. Add egg yolk mixture, stirring with a wire whisk. Cook for another 12 to 14 minutes to thicken. Strain and cool.

To serve:

When ready to serve, use a knife and gently loosen the torte from the mold. Tap the sides to make sure it is loose. Turn out upside down on serving dish. Slice and place on dessert plate or shallow dessert bowl. Pour crème anglaise on the side of each slice.

To read Regina's story about learning from older chefs and teaching the young at the same time, click here.