Teresa Buongiorno's incredible dessert recipe features many layers of flavour and texture, from the delicate crêpe exterior soaked in almond milk to the rich mousse centre. Passion fruit and berry purées add final freshness to the dish.

Crêpe cake with bitter chocolate mousse

Chef: Teresa Buongiorno

Cooking time: two hours, plus cooling time

Serves: 6

Course: Dessert

Skill level: Medium

Ingredients:

Meringue:

  • 50g of egg whites
  • 100g of caster sugar

Chocolate cake:

  • 100g of eggs
  • 100g of sugar
  • 70g of flour
  • 30g of bitter cocoa powder
  • 100g of butter
  • 4g of baking powder

Crêpe batter:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 40g of sugar
  • 40g of plain flour
  • 40g of butter
  • 25g of cold milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 25g of sugar
  • 1 orange zest
  • cocoa powder, for dusting

Chocolate mousse:

  • 100g of dark chocolate 67%
  • 200g of double cream
  • 1 sheet of gelatine
  • 50g of sugar

Almond milk:

  • 100ml of almond milk
  • 100ml of water

Chocolate sauce:

  • 50g of dark chocolate 67%
  • 1 tsp of water

Berry purée:

  • 100g of blueberries,
  • 100g of raspberries,
  • 100g of blackberries
  • 100g of cranberries
  • 100g of strawberries
  • 100g of sugar

Passion fruit purée:

  • 2 passion fruit
  • 20g of sugar

To garnish:

  • 6 physalis
  • 1 passion fruit
  • candied almonds (optional)
  • mint leaves

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3. Line a baking tray with baking parchment
  2. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl with a third of the sugar. Continue whisking while adding the next third of the sugar, and when doubled in size, add the third part and continue to mix slowly until firm
  3. Place in a piping bag, and pipe small blobs of the mixture onto the baking paper for mini meringues. Place in the preheated oven then reduce the temperature to 110ºC/gas mark ¼ and bake for 2 hours
  4. Once cooked and crisp, remove from the oven and allow to cool until needed
  5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4 and line a deep baking tray with baking parchment
  6. For the chocolate cake, whisk the eggs and sugar together in the bowl until light and fluffy, then slowly add the melted butter. Sieve in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and continue to mix until combined.
  7. Spread out on the baking tray to form a layer and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool then place in the freezer for 1 hour, before putting the semi-frozen cake into a food processor and blitzing quickly to form rough crumbs. Set aside until needed
  8. The crêpes are made by mixing together the milk, butter, egg yolks, 40g of sugar and flour for 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the orange zest and allow the mixture to rest. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites with the 25g of sugar in a clean bowl to make a meringue, then gently fold this into the batter
  9. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 5 and line a baking tray with baking parchment
  10. Spread a 1cm layer of the batter over the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes until just firm, then allow to cool
  11. For the chocolate mousse, bring 100g of the cream and the sugar to the boil in a small pan. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until completely melted
  12. Whip 90g of the remaining cream to soft peaks and dissolve the gelatine in the remaining 10g of cream. Gently fold the whipped cream and gelatin mixture into the chocolate to form a mousse and chill until needed
  13. Bring the berries to the boil in a pan over a medium heat then add the sugar and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and blitz in a blender, then pass through a sieve to form a smooth purée, similar to a jam consistency. Allow to cool
  14. Repeat with the passion fruit and sugar to make a purée
  15. Mix together the almond milk and water in a jug
  16. To make the crêpe cake, carefully peel the baking parchment off the cooked crêpe and cut lengthways to make two long rectangles. Use a pastry brush to brush almond milk over one half, then spread with a layer of the berry purée. Place in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes or so
  17. Spread (or pipe) a 2–3cm layer of the chocolate mousse over the purée and top with the other crêpe half, again brushing with the almond milk. Place in the freezer to chill for 2 hours, or until hard enough to be cut
  18. Meanwhile, make a chocolate sauce by gently melting the chocolate with the water over a bain-marie, set aside and keep warm
  19. To serve, spread a smear of the chocolate sauce over each serving plate, then sprinkle with the chocolate cake crumbs. Remove the crêpe cake from the freezer, dust the top with cocoa powder and cut into triangles. Place 2 triangles on each plate, then finish decorating with the mini meringues, a few dots of the berry and passion fruit purées, a wedge of passion fruit, a physalis and a few fresh mint leaves. Scatter over some roughly chopped candied almonds if liked

Recipe courtesy of chef Teresa Buongiorno. Launching soon Great Italian Chefs showcases the best culinary talent that Italy has to offer. Visit Great Italian Chefs for more recipes and features for Italy’s most exciting chefs.

The wine

This dish is predominately bitter, rich dark chocolate lifted with the acidity of the fruits. Therefore Decanter recommends trying this mind-blowing pudding with a lovely, sweet red wine; they are always hard to find but worth the hunt.

Due to the berry accompaniment in the dish, a fruity superior Port would work wonderfully well. Find the South of France area in your local wine shop to hunt out their red Vins doux naturels – such as a young Banyuls.

But, to celebrate Great Italian Chefs, go all out and find a Recioto Valpolicella from the Veneto region. The grapes are left on racks to semi dry giving a natural sweetness, then mellowed in oak. The result is intense plum, cherry and raspberries with mellow spices that bring dark chocolate to life – leaving a pudding and wine match no one will forget in a hurry. – Harry Fawkes, Decanter.com