Pierre Roelofs' Chocolate and Berry Surprise

Today our resident dessert expert Pierre Roelofs shares with us a decadent, deconstructed sweet, reimagining a classic combo, with chocolate mousse with fresh and freeze dried berries.

This November, Pierre is hosting his popular ‘Dessert Evenings’, featuring his famous dessert degustation, in collaboration with local creative and weaver Maryanne Moodie! Bookings can be made here.

Pierre Roelofs

Chocolate and Berry Surprise. Recipe by Pierre Roelofs. Illustration by Alice Oehr.

Pierre Roelofs
22nd of November 2016

Originally this dessert came together by accident. I was on a photo shoot and needed to create something quick and fast, and all I had around me were bit and pieces from desserts from my Dessert Evenings. Sometimes when you are under pressure the best results surface, and that’s how I feel about this chocolate and berry concoction.

This dessert is a classic combination of dark chocolate and berries. The super rich chocolate cake works really well with elements that offer freshness and acidity, including tart berries. The chocolate cake is essentially a baked chocolate mousse, so don’t expect it to behave like a normal cake! It’s quite fragile and can’t be cut into neat pieces. I recommend scooping it rather than trying to cut it.

Another element of this dish is the freeze-dried fruit, which are becoming more and more popular in recent years. They are easier enough to source online or through specialty grocers. should be able to purchase the freeze dried blackberries online, or at specialty grocers. I’ve included a few elements in this recipe, but you can add as many or as few as you wish. To be honest, the cake simply garnished with fresh raspberries is super delicious.

Pierre Roelofs
22nd of November 2016


For the chocolate flourless cake

Line a 23cm x 30cm tin with baking paper and preheat a fan-forced oven to 130C.

Warm the eggs and brown sugar over a pot of simmering water, transfer to a stand mixer and whisk until light and fluffy (a minimum of 10 minutes). Add the salt. Melt the butter.

Gently fold the butter and sifted cocoa powder into the egg mixture, keeping the mix as aerated as possible.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes, rotating the tin occasionally. The cake is ready when it’s firm and evenly cooked.

Note: It’s important to bake the cake at a low temperature so that it doesn’t rise excessively, collapse and end up dry and crusty. The cake will sink slightly as it cools.

For the chocolate crème

Bring the milk, cream, salt and sugar to the boil.

Whisk the corn flour and eggs together, then add to the liquid. Return a gentle heat and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens. Add the chocolate and mix well.

Spread onto a tray and leave to cool at room temperature.

Blend in a food processor until smooth, then place in a piping bag. Place in the fridge to firm up before using.

For the chocolate crumble

Preheat a oven to 130C.

Use a stand mixer with paddle attachment to mix the butter, cocoa powder, salt and icing sugar together. Add the egg, followed by the flour and baking powder and continue to mix gently.

Spread out on a lined baking tray and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Leave to cool then use your hands to break it up.

For the raspberry gel

Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a rapid boil, whisking continuously. Pour into a shallow tray and leave to set at room temperature.

Break the gel up into small pieces and blend in a jug blender until smooth. Place in the fridge to firm up before using.

To assemble

Use a spoon to scoop pieces of the chocolate cake onto plates. Garnish with dollops of chocolate crème, whole raspberries and bits of broken up freeze dried blackberry. Add dots of raspberry gel and sprinkle with chocolate crumble.

Dessert king Pierre Roelofs in his Brunswick kitchen. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Recent Sweets