This is no ordinary chocolate mousse. The spiced syrup lifts it from the mundane to the spectacular.
Ready time: 3 hours, including chilling time
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 star anise
1 inch (2.5 cm) piece cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 red Thai chili, seeded and chopped (scant ¼ teaspoon)
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
4 ounces (125 g) dark chocolate
½ cup mascarpone
Combine water, sugar, honey, star anise, cinnamon stick, cardamom, chili and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes or until syrupy. Cool to room temperature and strain out spices.
Bring ½ cup of whipping cream to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until melted and well combined. Cool to room temperature. Put mascarpone in a mixing bowl and fold the chocolate mixture into the mascarpone. Beat remaining ½ cup of whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold cream into chocolate mascarpone mixture.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon spice syrup in the base of each of two wine glasses. Spoon half of chocolate mixture into glasses, drizzle with another 1 teaspoon spice mixture then add remaining chocolate. Finish with another drizzle of syrup. Chill before serving.