TONY STAPLES: Add a splash of pink to your chocolate dessert this Easter

White chocolate mousse with rhubarb panna cotta and rhurbarb pur�e
White chocolate mousse with rhubarb panna cotta and rhurbarb pur�e

Some flavours are just meant to go together and this Easter it is white chocolate and rhubarb, says Tony Staples, executive head chef at the Arora Hotel in Crawley.

No Easter Sunday lunch would be complete without a chocolate dessert.

But, rather than using dark chocolate, I have chosen white to produce a fresh, spring-like pudding that also uses a seasonal favourite – rhubarb.

By now, this traditional British fruit (although in theory it is a vegetable) should be growing like a trifid in your garden – or, at least be plentiful and cheap on supermarket shelves.

With just the right amount of sugar, it is the perfect accompaniment to sweet white chocolate.

White chocolate isn’t everyone’s favourite as it can be just a little too sweet, so it needs the sharpness of rhubarb to compliment.

If, like in my house, that white chocolate Easter egg is always the last to be eaten, why not melt it down and turn it into a creamy mousse?

Serve with zingy rhubarb and you will have an Easter dessert that guarantees no leftovers.

l The Grill in the Arora is Crawley’s only AA-rosette restaurant.

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White chocolate mousse with rhubarb panna cotta and rhurbarb purée

For the mousse:

100ml fresh custard (available from most supermarkets)

50g white chocolate, broken into pieces

100ml double cream

50g caster

Half a leaf of gelatine

For the puree:

500g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces

100g caster sugar

100ml water

For the panna cotta:

50ml whole milk

200ml double cream

2 leaves gelatine

25g caster sugar


To make the rhubarb puree, place the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Cool slightly, then blitz in a food processor and pass through a sieve.

To make the panna cotta, soften the two gelatine leaves in cold water. Drain and squeeze out any excess water. Bring the cream and milk to the boil and stir in the sugar and gelatine leaves. Leave to cool and then stir in 150g of the rhubarb puree.

Pour into a shallow oblong dish and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours until set.

For the white chocolate mousse, gently warm the custard in a saucepan and stir in the white chocolate pieces until melted.

Soak the half a leaf of gelatine in cold water, drain and squeeze out any excess water and stir into the warm chocolate custard mix. Leave to cool. Whip the cream and sugar until it forms soft peaks and fold into the cooled custard mix.

Pour into a serving dish and chill for 3-4 hours until set.

To serve, cut the rhubarb panna cotta into rectangles. Serve a rectangle of panna cotta on a plate with a scoop of white chocolate mousse and a drizzle of rhubarb puree.

Chef’s tip

You can simplify this dessert even more by leaving out the panna cotta. Just pour the chocolate mousse mixture into glasses. Once set, top with a layer of rhubarb purée for a very pretty look.

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