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Instant Chocolate Mousse Separating

Asked by Nella21. Answered on 13th July 2014

Full question

So frustrated. I have tried The Instant Chocolate Mousse recipe twice now and each time the chocolate has split. I used 85% chocolate, large marshmallows, which I painstakingly cut into very tiny pieces (having used the butter to coat the scissors to prevent sticking), a tiny flame, but no success. What's the secret folks? I'm an experienced cook, so feel really gutted. Maybe I should melt the mallows with the water first and add the chocolate after? Use a bain marie rather than direct heat? Use 70% cocoa instead? Any advice greatly received.

Our answer

Nigella uses a dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids in her Instant Chocolate Mousse (from Nigella Express and on the Nigella website). A chocolate with 85% cocoa solids will have a slightly more bitter, intense taste but should melt in the same way as the 70% cocoa solids version, so we don't think particularly that it is the type of chocolate being used is the problem.

Any chocolate will split if it is heated too much and we wonder if the cut up marshmallows are sticking together in the saucepan, forming larger lumps which will take longer to melt and therfore could be causing the chocolate to overheat. You could melt the marshmallows and water together first and then try adding the chocolate once you have taken the pan off the heat (chop the chocolate into very small pieces so it melts easily), stirring until it has melted and is incorportaed into the mixture. You could also try dusting the cut up marshamllows with a very little cornflour (cornstarch) before adding them to the water and chocolate in the pan as this should reduce the risk of them sticking together while they melt.

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