CHOCOLATE AND BLOOD ORANGE MOUSSE
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
2 extra large egg yolks
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
4 blood oranges with unblemished skins, plus 4 more for extra juice
1 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 t. unflavored gelatin
Mix sugar and water, bring to a boil and cook until it reaches a thick syrup stage, about 225° on a candy thermometer. No higher, you don't want the mixture to color.
In a stand mixer, beat yolks very well until pale yellow and creamy. With the beater running on medium-high speed, pour in the syrup in a slow trickle. You don't want to curdle the yolks. In a separate bowl, whip the cream into fluffy peaks. Whip in the vanilla at the very last. Fold the whipped cream into the yolks, mixing well, and chill.
Slice off the tops of four of the oranges. Use your zester to get as much of the rind off each of the top slices, set zest aside. Working over a large bowl, squeeze out the bit of juice in each top. Then, using a spoon, scrape out the pulp and membrane of each of the four oranges, working over the bowl to collect the juices. The inside of the orange cups come out surprisingly clean, given the mess of the innards (they're not called blood oranges for nothing). Puree the contents of the bowl and pass through a strainer, so only the juice remains. Juice the other four oranges to end up with 1 1/4 c. of blood orange juice in all. Set aside.
Soften the gelatin in 4 T. of the juice, zap in the microwave for 20 seconds, and then mix the gelatin back into the juice, dissolving it evenly.
Gently melt the chocolate in the microwave on low power. You know that it doesn't have to look melted to be melted — when you see just the bottoms and sides of the chocolate melt, it's pretty much ready and you can use a whisk or fork to stir it all into creamy thickness. Too much heat and the chocolate will break. But you knew that.
Divide the mousse into two bowls. Fold the juice into one, mix well, and then fold in the reserved zest. Stir the chocolate into the other. Fill the bottom of each of the four orange cups with chocolate mousse. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes just to help the chocolate get a head start on the set. Then fill the cups the rest of the way with the blood orange mousse. Wrap each orange individually in cling wrap and freeze at least for four hours or overnight.
To serve, cut the oranges into quarters and you get this lovely bi-colored effect. Serve alongside:
Cut a third off each lemon lengthwise. Zest the small top slice, squeeze out and save the juice. Use a reamer or juice to extract as much juice from each lemon base, giving you a 1/2 cup of lemon juice. (If needed, juice another lemon or two). Clean out the membrane and pulp from the lemon shells with a spoon, discard the guts and keep the shells.
Soften the gelatin in the water in a sauce pan for two minutes. Add the sugar, cook over medium heat until the gelatin is well dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
Pour into a 9"X9" brownie pan, cover loosely with foil or cling wrap, and put in the freezer. After an hour it will be getting slushy, so stir it all around in the pan. In another 30 minutes go back in and scrape it and stir it all up again. The goal is to avoid it getting frozen hard solid. Refreeze for another 30 minutes. Bring it out of the freezer, beat it quickly but well to smooth is all out, and then back into the pan for another two hours in the freezer. At this point you'll have a nice granita but not too solid. Spoon into the lemon cups, freeze for at least four hours or overnight. Slice into halves.