This is a dessert that will blow your guests away. Basically, it’s a four-inch sphere of thin chocolate filled with chocolate mousse, resting on a bed of praline sauce and – here’s where it gets interesting – topped with hot melted caramel. The hot caramel melts the chocolate sphere, and the whole thing collapses into a warm chocolate-caramel-pecan confection that will transport even the most rigid dessert deniers into sighing lumps of happiness. (Have you noticed how people deny themselves dessert these days? I’m sure they’re trying to be healthy, but there’s something sad about refusing even one bite of dessert. Remember the saying, “Life is short. Eat dessert first.” Come on people, live a little!)
My daughter first had ‘the sphere’ while on a business trip to Paris, and sent me back a photo with a long rapturous description. You’ll want to lick the plate, but as a former social secretary, I really can’t condone that kind of behavior. I’ve reverse-engineered the sphere from the photo to arrive at this version, but you could use other flavors of mousse fillings, as well as other sauces for the base (raspberry, lemon, dark chocolate, chestnut, to mention a few). I ordered the rubber sphere molds from Amazon – they are the only special kitchen product you’ll need for this.
This dessert is outside my normal sphere (ha!) of dessert-making, but it’s worth the extra time and effort. So if you’re in snow up to your fenders and have an afternoon to play around with a recipe, this is a great one to try. You can use ice cream instead of the chocolate mousse, and I think the insides of the sphere could have a big, beautiful strawberry nestled into the mousse or ice cream for an extra surprise. Both the praline sauce and the caramel sauce can be purchased premade, and are usually found among the other ice cream toppings at the grocery store. In short, you could buy three out of four of the main components, make the spheres and assemble them in less than an hour. It’s a fabulously elaborate looking dessert, but no one will ever imagine how easy it really was.
Prep time: 3 hours
- 12 ounces 60% cacao chocolate morsels
- Place an inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler.
- In the top pan, place chocolate morsels and cover top of pan with plastic wrap.
Let chocolate melt completely.
- Remove plastic wrap.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the melted chocolate into the insides of the spherical molds.
- Turn upside down and let excess chocolate drip out onto a wax paper sheet.
Put chocolate mold right side up and allow to harden, wiping off any chocolate that has seeped over the top of the mold – it will make it easier to remove the chocolate from the mold later.
- When chocolate has hardened, place pressure on the middle underside of the mold and gently push chocolate spheres from mold. Set aside.
For Chocolate Mousse:
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups whipping cream, well chilled
- 2 egg whites
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
- Place heavy cream in a well-chilled bowl and mix with an electric mixer at high speed until cream begins to thicken.
- Add sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Place in refrigerator.
Melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan at low heat and set aside.
Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside.
- Whisk a cup of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate.
- Add rum and egg whites and mix until incorporated.
Fold in the rest of the whipping cream and refrigerate until needed.
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan combine all ingredients except pecans and heat over medium heat.
- Allow mixture to boil, then lower heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Turn off stove and add pecans.
- Put aside until needed.
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan place sugar and allow to cook undisturbed at low-medium heat until it turns amber in color.
- Remove pan from heat and add cream, butter and salt.
- Return to stove and turn to medium heat, whisking vigorously until well combined.
- Remove from stove and set aside.
- Take two of the chocolate spheres and fill each one ¾ of the way full with chocolate mousse, and press together.
- Using a warm, wet paper towel, wipe the place where the two halves of the chocolate sphere meet, cleaning off any excess mousse.
- Use a small paintbrush dipped in melted chocolate to seal the two spheres, if needed. (I didn’t have to do this because they stuck together immediately, but just in case you run into a problem here, it’s an easy fix.)
Place a tablespoon of the praline sauce into the center of a dessert plate.
- Place chocolate mousse-filled sphere on top of the sauce.
- Have caramel sauce hot and ready to serve.
- Serve spheres, and pour the hot caramel over the top of each sphere right after serving.
- The heat of the caramel will melt the sphere.
- Then enjoy!