For the crêpe batter:
In a deep saucepan, melt the butter into 1 cup of milk over very low heat. Remove from the heat as soon as the butter is melted. Let the milk cool completely.
Using a handheld mixer, whisk 2 eggs with ¼ cup sugar until you get a pale, yellow foam. Add the vanilla extract.
Combine the flour and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Form a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the egg mixture, butter/ milk liquid and the juices of 1 orange and 1 mandarin. Mix until the batter is smooth. Do not over-mix.
Let the crêpe batter rest for at least 2-3 hours.
Place a 4½"-diameter pan over medium heat. Grease it with a little oil using a silicone brush. Pour a scant ¼ cup of the batter in the center of the pan. Lift the pan and then tilt and rotate it until the batter is evenly spread and forms a nice thin disk. Put it back on the stove. Reduce the heat to medium-low. It should start bubbling after a few seconds. Let it sit on the stove.
The crêpe batter should cook for about a minute before it's time to flip. When the edges look dry and start separating from the pan, take a long flat spatula and lift around the crêpe. Flip the crêpe and cook the other side for another 30 seconds.
If the first crêpe appears too thick, thin the crêpe batter if necessary with more milk (or juice), up to ¼ cup (I didn't).
Set the crêpes aside and let cool.
Making mandarin chocolate mousse:
Place the juice of 1 mandarin in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for 2-3 minutes. The liquid should reduce to 2½ tablespoons of juice. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a stainless-steel mixing bowl, using an electric handheld mixer, whisk 4 egg yolks with ½ cup of sugar until the texture thickens. Make a "double boiler" (a pot filled with hot water, covered with a piece of cloth) and place the bowl filled with whisked eggs on top). Continue whisking the eggs at full speed for about 3-4 minutes. Check the temperature of the eggs; they should feel warm to the touch. Remove from the double boiler, add the orange extract, the mandarin concentrated juice and the mandarin zest. Continue whisking at full speed for about 5 minutes. Make sure the eggs are whisked for a long time, so the mousse is light and airy.
In the same "double boiler", place a stainless-steel bowl filled with 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips. Add 2 tablespoons whipping cream. Slowly melt, stirring frequently.
Pour ½ the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. Mix well. Pour in the rest of the chocolate; using a silicone spatula, stir well until the color is uniform.
Whip 1¼ cups heavy cream (at low speed) and ¼ teaspoon salt for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons Kahlúa (if using). Increase to maximum speed and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes, until it forms soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the texture will become grainy. Reserve ¼ cup for garnish.
Repeat the same procedure as with the egg mixture previously. Pour ½ the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Mix well. Pour in the rest of the whipped cream; using the silicone spatula, gently fold the cream into the chocolate to get an airy mousse.
Plastic-wrap the bowl and chill in the refrigerator until the rest of dessert is ready to assemble. The fat from the cream may pick up some other food odor from the refrigerator so make sure the bowl is sealed properly.
Forming the beggar's purse: Place a crêpe on the working space. Place a small mound of mandarin chocolate mousse (about 2½ tablespoons) in the middle of the crêpe. Tie the crêpe into a bunch using some strings. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This step can be prepared in advance.
For the chocolate puffed rice: In the same "double boiler" used previously, melt 2 ounces chocolate . Add 2 tablespoons whipping cream. Make sure the bowl circumference is larger than the pot, so there isn't any splatter of water in the chocolate. Once it's melted, remove from the stove and add the puffed rice. Mix until well incorporated. Transfer small mounds of chocolate-covered puffed rice to a baking pan lined with a silicone mat. Let sit until hardened. Reserve the remaining puffed rice.
For the spun sugar garnish: In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and 2 tablespoons water. Stir using wooden chopsticks (or a spoon) and cook over medium-low heat. It will take some time until it becomes a syrupy caramel (at 250°F). Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Slowly pour the caramel in fine streaks onto another baking pan lined with a silicone mat. Immediately place a small mound of chocolate puffed rice on each extremity of the sugar garnish. Let the sugar decoration harden.
For the Kahlúa-flavored chocolate sauce: In a bowl, combine 4 ounces chocolate, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and the remaining ¼ cup cream. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or make a double-boiler). Stir well. Add the orange oil and 2 tablespoons Kahlúa (if using). Whisk until well combined.
Cut and discard the twine holding the beggar's purse together. Place onto an individual serving plate. Place 2-3 canned mandarin segments on the side.
Place a little mound of whipped cream (not pictured, I completely forgot this step for the photo!) on the side and top with the reserved remaining chocolate puffed rice. Carefully lift and detach the whimsical piece of spun sugar with puffed rice to decorate the dessert by placing it in the center of the crêpe, right into the chocolate mousse. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and dust with a little powdered sugar (using a fine mesh strainer) if you like.
It's the time of the year again, our garden is filled with citruses. Yeepee! I'll be posting a lot of dishes using them soon.
I use Guittard extra semi-sweet baking chocolate chips that I buy directly from a local market.
I used Boyajian pure orange oil. You can find it at Draeger's
You could substitute your favorite liquor for the Kahlúa; if you want to make the dessert more kid-friendly, use more concentrated fruit juice (freshly pressed fruit reduced by half on the stove).
The longer you let the batter rest the better. It will still be good after 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
My secret for perfect crêpe batter is to melt the butter with the milk. Let the mix cool completely, then add the rest of the ingredients.
The first crêpe is never perfect. You might want to thin the batter with milk if the crêpe turns out too thick.
If you're interested in making a savory version of the beggar's purse (aumonière in French), check out my recipe for the ones filled with mushrooms, pumpkin or ratatouille.