For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make something special and decided to create my version of a bag of chocolate filled with strawberry chocolate mousse and topped with fresh fruite. I also wanted to give it a sexy name. So, my friend, Giovanni Lugli, gave me an Italian name for the dish, Sportina di Choccolata con Fragole Fresche. The literal translation is “bag of chocolate with fresh strawberries”, but it sounds so much better in Italian.
To make this dish you have to coat the inside of thin paper bags with tempered chocolate, wait for the chocolate to set, and then peel away the paper. The critical step is tempering chocolate correctly. The process doesn’t take long, but the temperature of the chocolate during the melting and cooling process is absolutely crucial. You must have some sort of instant read thermometer to do it right.
After making the bag, you can fill it the way I’ve done in the recipes below or be creative and use your own fillings and favorite toppings. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy this chocolate treat.
12 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, I used 8oz 70% Cacao and 4oz 60% Cacao, chopped
2 small thin paper bags with a base of 3 1/2" x 2" and a minimum height of 4" (there may be enough chocolate to make 1-2 additional bags if you are coating them sparingly)
Open each paper bag fully and place it on a flat surface so that the bottom forms a flat shape, 3 1/2" x 2" and the bag stands upright. You might have to make corner creases in the bag so that it holds it shape. Take each bag and roll the top down, like a turtle neck sweater, until the bag is only 4" tall. Set aside.
Mix together 4oz of the 70% and 4oz of the 60% cacao chocolate in a microwave oven save bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 1 minute. Stir mixture thoroughly and microwave for an additional 1 minute. Stir again and check the temperature. Your goal is for the chocolate to reach an even temperature of 122 degrees F. After the first two 1 minute intervals, reduce the microwave time to only 10 seconds. Cook for 10 seconds, stir thoroughly and then check the temperature. When the mixture reaches 122 degrees F, place the bowl on a work surface and add about 1/2 of the remaining chocolate. Stir constantly until mixture reaches 89 degrees F. If the added chocolate has fully melted before the mixture reaches 89 degrees, add small amounts of the remaining chocolate and stir with each addition until all the chocolate has melted. you will probably have leftover chocolate.
If the chocolate has been tempered properly, you should be able to make a small "smear" of chocolate on a piece of wax or parchment paper and have it harden within 3-5 minutes. If the chocolate has not hardened, then it has not been tempered properly.
Once the chocolate has been properly tempered, take a small pasty brush and liberally paint the inside 'sides' of each bag. The bottom will be covered by the run off of the chocolate painted on the sides. Once you've coated all the sides of the bag, set it on a flat surface and shape it so that it stands upright. Place the bag in the refrigerator for about 3-5 minutes.
After 3-5 minutes, the bag should be rather rigid. Remove it from the refrigerator and add a second coat to the inside of the bag. Return the bag to the refrigerator for an additional 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, carefully peel away the paper coating on the chocolate. Be extra careful on the bottom because of the creases that are part of the bag's construction. Return the bags to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Chocolate Strawberry Mousse
this will fill four bags
2 cu Fresh Strawberries, loosely packed, then stemmed and finely chopped
1/4 cu Water
2 tbl Butter
2 tbl Granulated Sugar
8 oz Milk Chocolate, chopped
1/4 cu Additional Water
3 tbl Additional Sugar
3 Egg Yolks, whisked
1 1/2 cu Whipping Cream
2 tbl Powdered Sugar
Chill mixing blades and a mixing bowl for the whipping cream until ready to use.
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, 1/4 cup water, butter and 1/4 granulated sugar. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and then either use an immersion blender or transfer ingredients to a conventional blender and blend until smooth. If using a conventional blender, return ingredients to the saucepan and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Set aside away from the heat.
In a smaller saucepan, over medium low heat, combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup water and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Heat until mixtures reaches 160 degrees F. Slowly whisk mixture into chocolate mixture. Place mixture in the refrigerator and stir often for about 45 minutes, until mixture is cool.
Meanwhile, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the whipped cream mixture until fully combine. Pour mixture into chocolate bags, leaving about 1" of space at the top. If you have extra mousse, pour it into small serving glasses for a dessert to be enjoyed later.
4 cu Fresh Raspberries
1/2 cu Granulated Sugar
1/4 cu Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/4 cu Water
Place ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Smash the raspberries while stirring ingredients together. Bring mixture to a boil and then cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine sieve. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Final Assembly and Presentation
- Raspberry Sauce
- Mousse Filled Chocolate Bags
- Fresh Fruit (strawberries, kiwi, raspberries, blackberries, etc.), peeled an sliced if necessary
To serve the chocolate bag, swirl a bit of raspberry sauce on the bottom of a plate. Place the mousse filled bag on top. Fill the remaining space in the bag with sliced strawberries, kiwi, raspberries or whatever fresh fruit you like. Add a few pieces of fresh fruit on the plate as well.