- 5 1/2 oz dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids), broken into small chunks, divided
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 heaped tsp best-quality instant coffee or espresso granules
- 1 scant tsp ground cinnamon
- Seeds from 2 fat green cardamom pods*, finely ground in a mortar and pestle
- 2 Tbsp boiling water
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar, divided
- 1 heaped tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Melt 3 1/2 ounces of the chocolate in a small saucepan set over low heat. Remove pan from heat and gently stir in butter until mixture has completely melted and is smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Combine coffee, cinnamon, and ground cardamom seeds in a small bowl with boiling water and stir until coffee granules dissolve.
- Let stand to cool.
- Put egg yolks and half of sugar into a large bowl and whisk together using an electric hand mixer until mixture is pale. Add cooled chocolate mixture, cooled coffee and spice mixture, vanilla bean paste, and a generous grinding of black pepper. In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whip cream together with remaining sugar until stiff peaks form, but be careful not to overwork mixture or it will become too thick. (To rescue overwhipped cream, add a little bit more cream and gently fold it in.)
- Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture a heaped spoonful at a time, always folding rather than stirring to keep mousse light. Next, fold in whipped cream gradually in same way.
- Divide mixture between 6 glass dessert serving dishes or cups, or 8 espresso cups and let chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours. Just before serving, finely chop remaining chocolate chunks and scatter over each serving to decorate.
- *If you can’t find cardamom pods, use 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom.
- The individual servings can be made a day or two in advance, so this really is the ideal dessert for entertaining.