Orange Mousse Brownies on Pandan Shortbread – Recipe

恭喜發財! Happy Chinese New Year everyone, the year of the rooster begins today. Today were supposed to eat oranges because the Chinese word for 'orange' (橙 chéng) sounds like 'success' (成 chéng). We're also supposed to eat the sticky rice cake nian gao because the word for 'cake' (糕 gāo) sounds like 'high' (高 gāo). I decided to go one better and make a cake that looks like an orange.

The dome is orange cream mousse on top of a rich chocolate brownie with cocoa nibs and white chocolate rice pearls for crunch. The mousse is glazed with an orange mirror glaze and set atop a round of green pandan-flavoured shortbread, and decorated with a little pandan shortbread 'stem'.

I also added a little gold leaf for good fortune. This is Chinese New Year, after all.

Ready? Let's go.

Ingredients for Brownie:

50g unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
25g dark brown sugar
100g dark chocolate
2 eggs
30g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp cocoa nibs

Ingredients for Mousse:

100ml orange juice
2tsp gelatine soaked in 35ml cold water
1 egg white

50g sugar
Zest of 1/2 orange
100ml double cream, whipped to soft peaks

White chocolate crispy pearls

Ingredients for Glaze:

150ml orange juice
300g caster sugar
140g glucose syrup (a whole Dr Oetker tube of it)
3/4 of a can of condensed milk

2 tbsp gelatine soaked in 125ml water
250g white chocolate
Orange food colouring

Ingredients for Shortbread:

1 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp plain flour

1/2 tsp pandan paste
Pinch of salt

To Decorate:

Gold leaf (optional)


1. To make the brownie, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line an 8x12" pan with baking parchment. Melt the butter, sugars and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, Beat in the eggs, flour, vanilla and cocoa nibs. Bake for 20 minutes or until springy in the middle when touched, let cool completely and cut out six circles the same size as the moulds you will use.

2. To make the mousse, heat the orange juice in a small pan until steaming, take off the heat and dissolve the gelatine in it. Leave to cool for a minute or two Whip the egg whites until they form stiff white peaks, then whisk in the sugar. Fold in the orange juice mixture and the zest, then gently fold in the whipped cream.

3. Spoon the mousse into six silicone hemisphere moulds, leaving about a centimeter of space at the top. Sprinkle over the chocolate crispie bits, gently press the brownie circles on top and freeze for at least four hours, over overnight.

4. To make the glaze, bring the orange juice, sugar, condensed milk and glucose syrup to a boil, stirring constantly. Take off the heat, whizz with a hand blender to smooth out any curds that form (because of the acidic orange juice), and stir in the chocolate and soaked gelatine until melted. Add a few drops of food colouring, then pass through a sieve into a large pouring jug. Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool to room temperature.

5. While the glaze cools, make the shortbread: preheat the oven to 180°C and line a couple of baking trays. Stir all of the ingredients together, using your hands to knead it into a smooth dough afterwards. Roll the dough out, stamp out rounds larger than your domes, and bake for about 8 minutes (just before the edges go brown). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (I also made some orange stems by rolling some leftover dough into little balls and using a straw to make the shape.)

6. Once the glaze is cool, unmould your mousse domes and places them on upside-down egg cups or small shot glasses in a baking tray to catch drips. Pour some of the glaze evenly over the domes, and pop in the fridge for five minutes to set. Repeat another few times to build up the glaze coat, until you've used up all the glaze.

7. To assemble the desserts, scrape off any excess drops from the mousse domes, place each on a shortbread round, and place a 'stem' on top. Place a large flake or two of gold leaf by the stem.

8. Let the desserts thaw in the fridge for another 15 minutes before serving.

Have fun, and enjoy.



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