7oz/ 200 g bittersweet chocolateor a dairy-free dark chocolate, finely chopped
4eggsseparated, at room temperature (egg whites in a clean dry bowl)
1/4cupof cream or coconut creamdairy-free option
1/2tspsalt flakesadd 1 tsp if you'd like this to be a salted chocolate mousse - It tastes FANTASTIC!
In a large pan, sprinkle the 3.5 oz/ 100 g sugar evenly on the bottom of the pan.
Heat the pan on low-medium heat until the sugar around the edges starts to melt. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to move the sugar around (the sugar will start to clump and that is okay)
When the sugar has mostly melted, add the roasted hazelnuts and keep stirring the caramel to make sure the sugar caramelizes evenly, while also coating the hazelnuts.
Continue to cook while stirring the sugar/nuts until the sugar turns a dark amber colour (that is just before the caramel burns - so DO NOT move away from the stove because this can happen quickly, and PLEASE be careful as the sugar is very very hot)
Remove from heat immediately and pour the sugar and nuts onto a parchment paper and let it cool completely. When the sugar has cooled down, break the caramel into smaller pieces so that they can be chopped in the food processor.
In the food processor, process the praline mix in pulses first until you crush the nuts. Then process the sugar/nuts on high until you get a paste (you may have to stop and scrape the bowl a couple of times)
In a heat proof bowl place the praline paste and egg yolks and mix them well with a whisk or hand mixer for a few minutes, until well combined.
Add the chopped chocolate and melt the chocolate, egg yolk and praline paste together over a saucepan of simmering water, until the chocolate is melted and is smooth.
Let this cool for about 10 - 15 minutes and stir in the cream/coconut cream. With a beater, whisk until the chocolate mix is lighter in colour and a little thicker.
In a clean metal bowl (free of any residue), place the egg whites and 2 tbsp of white sugar. To make the egg white food-safe, whisk the egg whites over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk on high until you form stiff peaks (with a clean, dry beater).
Fold in 1/4 of the egg white into the chocolate mix. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold it in until just combined.
Pour into individual serving glasses and chill for a few hours until set. Serve as is, or with a dollop of fresh cream or creme fraiche.
Please Note - You may realize that I whisk both the egg yolk/chocolate mix and the egg whites over a double boiler. While this is completely optional - I do this because it pasteurizes the egg making it safe to eat. This is especially for those who are concerned about eating raw egg.