A showstopper in every way, and also great to make ahead!
Three Mousse Entremets
Recommended: 2” round cake rings and Acetate for cake collars
Brownie Layer: (Epicurious)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans, or mini chocolate chips (optional)
Position a rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Very generously butter an 18×13″ rimmed baking sheet (do not line with parchment).
Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave or set over a pot of barely simmering water. Mix sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour butter over and stir until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula after each addition, until batter is thick, shiny, and smooth. Stir in flour until well incorporated, then beat vigorously for 30–40 strokes. Stir in nuts or chocolate chips if using.
Using a spatula, spread batter into a thin, even layer to edges and into corners of prepared sheet (batter will seem scant but brownies will rise to about 1/4″ thick).
Bake brownies until firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs (not runny batter) attached, 15–18 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Using the ring molds, punch out 12 circles. Place ring molds on a flat tray.
Now it’s time to construct an acetate collar for the inside of the ring. The top edge of the acetate will be the same height as the ring, and the length should be long enough to fit against the ring sides (on the inside). The purpose of this: when you lift up the ring after the mousses have set, you want a clean line between the layers. The acetate will keep everything pretty until it’s carefully untapped at the end.
Dark Chocolate Mousse Layer: (Tyler Florence)
3 T (42 g) unsalted butter
6 oz (170 g) semisweet chocolate, best quality
3 large eggs, yolks (54 g) and whites (111 g) separated
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup plus 2 T (75 g) sugar
1/2 cup (113 g) heavy cream, cold
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan containing about 1 inch of barely simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the egg yolks one at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form (the peaks should be just starting to hold and will melt back into themselves after a second). Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the peaks will stand straight up when the beaters are lifted from the mixture). Using a large rubber spatula, fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until uniform. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken up. Add the remaining 2 T of sugar and the vanilla and continue beating until the cream holds medium peaks (when you lift the beaters or whisk out of the bowl, the peaks will slightly droop down, but they won’t lose their shape entirely). Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Be sure it is fully incorporated but don’t mix any more than necessary. Divide the mousse between 12 individual glasses, cover, and chill until set, at least 2 hours.
Note: Chocolate mousse is made with raw eggs. If that is a concern, try to find pasteurized eggs. Pasteurized eggs have been briefly exposed to heat to destroy any potential bacteria. Whole Foods usually carries them but call your local store to be sure before making a special trip. (Note: eating raw eggs is not advisable for pregnant women, babies, the elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system.)
Milk Chocolate Mousse (Tyler Florence)
Repeat recipe as for Dark Chocolate Mousse, substituting 6 oz. milk chocolate chips for the semi-sweet.
Lay this mousse layer on top of the dark chocolate mousse layer. Refrigerate while you make the white chocolate mousse layer.
White Chocolate Mousse (Taste of Home)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 T sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 oz. white baking chocolate, melted and cooled
In a bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form; set aside.
In another bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add white chocolate and beat until smooth.
Fold in whipped cream. Add this layer on top of the milk chocolate mousse layer and refrigerate until set (two hours).