The most delicious thing I tasted at the Beard Awards back in May was that delicious I went back for three more servings! It was presented by pastry chef Bill Corbett of Daniel Patterson's Coi Restaurant in S.F. He made a roasted white chocolate mousse, using a special new technique he had learned recently at a course at ValRhona in France. It is simply astonishing, yet not surprising, how the milk solids in the white chocolate, on roasting, caramelize and transmutate (yes I know there is no such word but there needs to be and there is now!) into such extraordinary flavor. Just think of the possibilities!
Bill offered to send me the recipe but before I could remind him it appeared in the JBF notes publication:
Roasted White Chocolate Mousse
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 pound white chocolate, broken into large chunks
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/3 cup feuilletine (see note)
2 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
Preheat oven to 300˚F.
Put the white chocolate chunks into a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes. The chocolate will turn a golden caramel color. It will stiffen between stirrings but should become smooth as you stir it.
Pour the roasted white chocolate out onto a silicone baking mat or wax paper and allow to set for 24 hours. Don't worry if the chocolate develops a mottled appearance (known as bloom).
Break up the roasted chocolate into small pieces. Measure out 160g/5.6 ounces (about 1-1/3 cups) of the chocolate.
Melt the 160g/5.6 ounces of chocolate with the canola oil in a bowl over boiling water. Mix in ½ teaspoon salt and the feuilletine. Spread on a silicone baking mat or wax paper and leave to set overnight.
Place the remaining chocolate (about 300 g/10.6 ounces or 2-2/3 cups) in a medium bowl. Bring 1 cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
Set aside to cool until thickened, at least 20 minutes.
Whip the remaining cream (about 1-3/4 cups) in a stand mixer until it forms soft peaks. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Carefully fold the remaining whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
Divide the mousse between 4 to 6 ramekins or serving bowls. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve, break the chocolate feuilletine bark into small pieces and use to garnish the mousse.
NOTE: Feuilletine is a crunchy, buttery flake that can be purchased at specialty baking stores or online. If you can't find it, substitute finely crumbled cigar wafer cookies.