For the popping-candy base
- 85g whole hazelnuts
- 40g milk chocolate
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 100g popping candy (Cottees Strawberry Popping Candy)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4) and roast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Blend to a paste in a food processor, then set aside.
- Melt the milk chocolate in a bowl over low-simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir in the mixed spice and popping candy.
- Fold in the hazelnut purée. Place your ring molds (or just use the ring of a springform tin) on a serving dish and gently press in the base mixture to a depth of about 1cm. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until hard.
For the chocolate mousse
- 350g dark chocolate
- 400ml double cream
- Pinch of salt
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a metal bowl. Bring 150ml of the cream to the boil in a small saucepan and pour over the chopped chocolate and stir gently until all the chocolate has melted, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t take on a granular texture.
- Add the salt to taste. Once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, lightly whip the remaining 250ml cream to soft peaks, but do not overwhip.
- Fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour over the base in the ring mould and place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.
For the chocolate glaze
- 20g dark chocolate, chopped
- 120ml water
- 8 whole coffee beans (or instant coffee granules but adjust to your preference)
- Couple of pinches of salt
- 30g cocoa powder
- 70g unrefined golden caster sugar
- To make the glaze, chop up the chocolate and set aside. Place the water, coffee beans and salt in a pan, whisk in the cocoa powder, then set over a medium heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the sugar in a small pan and melt over a medium heat. Unrefined sugar will caramelise quickly, so keep an eye on it; when it does, pour over the coffee and cocoa mix — stand back, as it will bubble and spit.
- Beat in the chopped chocolate and, when melted, pass through a fine sieve. When cool, but still liquid, pour over the mousse to your preferred depth and return the cake to the fridge to set.
- To serve: run a hot knife around the inside of the ring before removing the cake. What I did was, I quickly blowtorched the outside of the food ring and gently eased it off the cake. I then used a small offset palette knife (make sure it’s hot) to smooth the outside of the cake.
- When slicing it, make sure the blade of the knife is nice and hot.